CF Volleyball signs Gillespie

CF Volleyball signs Gillespie

Ocala, Fla.-- During her senior season, Mikaylah Gillespie led Belleview High School on a run to the FHSAA Class 5A State Championship volleyball match.

The four-year starter was rewarded for her efforts in leading the Rattlers to their best finish in school history recently, as she signed a letter-of-intent with the College of Central Florida.

Gillespie finished her senior season with 387 kills and 189 blocks and finished her career with 686 kills, 255 blocks and a 48.4 kill percentage in four years on varsity.

Her finest hour came in the state semifinals against Tampa Robinson, as she finished with a career-high 26 kills.

It was the fourth time during the season that Gillespie finished with over 20 kills and the 26 kills was three more than her previous career-high.

Gillespie, who was a three-year letter-winner for the BHS softball team and a key contributor to the school's finish as Class 5A state runner-up in 2012, was excited with the way things turned out on the court for the Rattlers this past season.

"(The run to the state finals) was probably the best moment of my high school career," Gillespie said. "Going into the season, we weren't really expecting very much. We lost a lot of players from the previous year and had only two seniors.

"Things started working out in our favor and we kept going and we were like 'we can do this.

"Then we got to the state championship and I was like, 'I can't believe we made it this far. It was a privilege to be there and have the chance to play for the championship. I had a great time. It was a lot of fun."

Belleview coach Gary Greer, who is the Rattlers' softball and volleyball coach, said Gillespie was a difference-maker for the school during its historic run.

"She played a major role in leading Belleview to a historic run as state runner-up," Greer said. "CF is getting the most prolific scorer in school history and I think she will be a great fit and make her mark at CF. We are so proud of her."

CF has qualified for the nationals in each of its three seasons under coach Flavia Siqueira.

"We are always happy to bring in another player from our area," said Siqueira. "(CF assistant coach Paulo Marion) sees great potential in her and we are excited to be able to coacj someone who is very open-minded and eager to learn."

Siqueira's impact played a major role in keeping Gillespie in Ocala.

"She's such a good coach and they've been to nationals and I really liked what she has done (with CF's program)," Gillespie said. "I had the chance to see her coach in club volleyball (at 352 Elite) and she tells you how it is. She doesn't sugarcoat things. I think it's a really good fit for me to play at CF.

"I got a chance to practice with team and all of them were really nice. It was like a family."

Gillespie also received interest from the likes of St. Petersburg and Daytona State, but the lure of the Patriots' national prominence played a key role in keeping her in Ocala.

"I told myself that I didn't want to go to college in Ocala (earlier in my life)," Gillespie said. "CF has such a good program and they've been nationally ranked and I really like what they have done, so it was the right place for me."

At CF, she will play either middle or on the right side.

This past summer, she made marked improvement in several areas and will broke those improvements to the Patriot program.

"The first three years I didn't get to play back row," she said. "I worked hard over the summer with my passing and (Greer) let me play all of the time.

"My passing and hitting really improved and I was able to make (my hitting) come into the spotlight (when it mattered most)."