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USC volleyball standout commits to Duke

| Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Upper St. Clair volleyball star Sam Amos has made the decision to continue her volleyball career as a Blue Devil.

Panther fans can rest easy it's not the Blue Devils of perennial rival Mt. Lebanon that the sophomore multi-sport standout has committed her future to, but the Blue Devils of Duke University, where she has accepted a volleyball scholarship.

Amos, a 6-foot-2 left-handed middle hitter, collected an impressive final list of scholarship offers to choose from, including powerhouses Penn State, Nebraska and Stanford. Despite being just halfway through her high school career, Amos feels that she has made the commitment that suits her future best, in deciding to take her talents to Durham to play for coach Jolene Nagel and her 2013 ACC championship-winning program.

“I didn't imagine committing to a school this early on,” Amos said. “But I really loved the coaches and the campus at Duke. They just blew me away as soon as I got there.”

Amos said her final decision came down to two schools: Penn State and Duke. She admitted that the local pull of Penn State was hard to resist.

“The pull was very hard on me because I really loved Penn State, and because there are a lot of people from around here that love Penn State, and the volleyball is ridiculously good there,” Amos said. “But when it came down to them and Duke, I just had a feeling in my heart that I knew which school was best for me.”

Her commitment to Duke comes on the heels of a season in which she helped lead the Upper St. Clair girls volleyball team to a 9-3 regular-season mark and a WPIAL playoff appearance. She earned first-team WPIAL Class AAA all-star honors and was the lone sophomore to garner a place on the Pennsylavnia Volleyball Coaches Association all-state team.

Yoko Nagao, who was Amos' volleyball coach for the past two seasons at Upper St. Clair, says that it is the sophomore's dedication to her craft, coupled with her natural talent, that make her a special athlete.

“I think it's her skills and her athletic ability and her commitment that help her stand out,” Nagao said. “As a freshman, she played volleyball and tennis in the same season. She never missed a volleyball practice, even though she had to come straight from her tennis practices.”

As a sophomore, Amos decided to forego her place on the varsity tennis team. However, it was not to free up her demanding schedule, rather she chose to give track and field a whirl. Remarkably, in her first season competing at the high school level, she has already qualified for the WPIAL meet in the high jump.

“She's super-coachable and she's a great athlete. She's a great kid, well-mannered and positive all the time,” Upper St. Clair track coach Ben Petrick said. “She's very goal-oriented. I think she is really going to be good at anything that she does athletically.”

Although Amos has a taste for expanding her athletic palette, she feels resolute in her commitment to Duke, and thankful for the opportunities that her abilities have presented her.

“It feels great to know that the things that I've accomplished have led to this,” Amos said. “I just feel so grateful and so blessed to have reached a goal of mine.”

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.

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