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North Allegheny volleyball standout commits to Notre Dame

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Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Once Meg Morningstar put in her due diligence, it didn't take her too long to make her decision.

Late last month, Morningstar made a verbal commitment to accept a scholarship to play volleyball at Notre Dame. The 6-foot-2 middle hitter and daughter of former Pitt center and NBA player Darren Morningstar accepted the offer prior to her junior year of high school.

“The best compliment I can give to Meg is she probably had the most perfect recruiting experience you can possibly have,” North Allegheny coach Heidi Miller said. “She's a good player and a multisport athlete, and she's young — but she did everything she needed to do to put herself in a great position recruiting-wise.

“Meg had a good support group around her in her coaches and her family, and she was great at narrowing down her schools of interest. She went on visits, camps, the whole package. The whole thing worked out for her, and we couldn't be more pleased with how it turned out.”

Morningstar was named to the all-WPIAL second team in her first season as a starter as a sophomore. She helped North Allegheny win the Section 3-AAA title and qualify for the PIAA playoffs.

Morningstar, who intends on pursuing a business-related major, had a 4.3 GPA over the past academic year. She chose Notre Dame over several other schools, most notably Pitt, North Carolina and Northwestern.

“I just fell in love with the campus and the program and all of it,” Morningstar said. “And of course, the academics are so good there.

“I went to the North Carolina camp, and they told me I was at the top of their list and then at Northwestern they told me similar things. But I knew I really wanted to go to Notre Dame. I called them from the airport coming home from Northwestern, and they ended up offering me. It was surreal — I was so excited to go.”

In her younger years, Morningstar concentrated on basketball, not discovering volleyball until middle school. By eighth grade, Morningstar came to the realization she was both becoming burned out from basketball and likely had a better future in volleyball.

Plus, “I fell in love with it,” she said.

Morningstar will continue to play basketball in high school. As a sophomore, she was already a significant contributor to a section champion team.

“There's no doubt in my mind she could have been a college basketball player,” Miller said. “But her body type lends itself better to volleyball. And she enjoys it.”

Miller is convinced that Morningstar has yet to scratch the surface of how far her game can evolve. Miller said Morningstar's long, lean build combines with intelligence and instincts to form a player who is proficient both on the attack and in blocking.

Relatively late to the sport, Morningstar is still improving exponentially.

“Last year, we teased her that she was a baby giraffe,” Miller said. “I would say now she's more like a teenage giraffe maybe. She looks like a different kid — just so much stronger.”

Morningstar knows she needs to continue to improve before she begins the rigors of playing in the ACC. She said she became so diligent in making an early college decision because she began to realize that many of her peers at the high-level camps were already committing. Pitt offered her when she was a freshman.

“A lot of good players don't end up going to schools they could because they are not as proactive in recruiting,” said Morningstar, who emailed and called dozens of coaches of schools she had interest in.

Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.

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