Allan signs with Lenoir-Rhyne

Watauga’s Tegan Allan (20) signed a letter of intent to play volleyball at Lenoir-Rhyne. Watauga’s Brooke Byrd (7) assists on the block.

BOONE — Watauga volleyball player Tegan Allan was considering offers to play volleyball in college when Lenoir-Rhyne made an offer to sign her to a letter of intent.

Allan took that offer and made it official Dec. 9 at the Watauga High library in front of family, teammates and friends. Allan is the second Pioneer to extend her career to college. Rebekah Farthing will be playing at Georgia Southern next year.

Allan said coach Dave Markland and the members of the team made her feel comfortable on her visit. She also likes how Hickory is close enough to Boone, but far enough away to give her some independence without feeling like she is too far from home.

“When I went to visit, it almost immediately felt like home,” Allan said. “The coach, the players, they really made me like I was at home. The location is great and I can come back, but it’s far enough away that I can feel like I’m going to college.”

Allan, a 5-foot-11 middle blocker, led Watauga in blocking with 107 total blocks, including a team-leading 29 solo blocks. It’s a part of the game that appeals to Allan, who provided a tough target for opponents to face every time they went against her.

“When I talked to coach Markland, I was recruited for middle (blocker) but sometime I play from the middle to the right side,” Allan said about where she might play. “I’m willing to play wherever he needs me.”

Allan also provided some offense for the Pioneers. One of three players to finish with more than 100 kills, Allan finished with 126 kills, which was third on the team.

One of her favorite plays is known as the slide, where she slides to the side of the front line from her middle position and receives a set to kill. But she takes pride in her defense.

“My favorite part of the game is blocking,” Allan said. “It’s an important time of the game because even if you don’t get the block or a touch, you’re still up in the air jumping and moving and trying to close the block.”

Allan would like to be faster moving along the front line to catch up to opposing hitters, who will attack the net faster than what Allen is used to in high school.

“A part of preparing, even for this year, is working on some speed and getting faster,” Allan said. “That’s definitely what I’m going to work on in the offseason and this summer. There are a lot of parts in my game that I can improve on.”

Allan, who is undecided on what she will study, but has an interest in work in athletics, joins a Lenoir-Rhyne team that finished 16-15 overall, 11-11 in the Division II South Atlantic Conference. The Bears lost to Queens in the first round of the SAC.

Allan joins a team that opened the 2019 season with five straight wins and seven out of eight victories. The Bears finished third in the SAC.

Allan chose Lenoir-Rhyne over UNC Pembroke and SAC rival Mars Hill.

“I was ready to make a decision and Lenoir-Rhyne came into the game,” Allan said. “About two weeks before I committed, they emailed me and they were interested and I was planning a visit this summer, but I had to make a decision for the other schools, so I went on a quick visit and I knew that was where I needed to be.”

Allan leaves a Watauga program that has won the Northwestern Conference all four years she played. The Pioneers finished 26-1 last season and reached the fourth round of the state 3-A playoffs before falling to No. 1 seed West Rowan.

“I’m so grateful to play for Watauga volleyball,” Allan said. “Playing here, we’re all held to a higher standard. More is expected out of us to be successful and being held to that higher standard has made me a better player.”

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