FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University volleyball coach Lauren Baufield has announced the signing of 5-8 setter Kaylee Gillespie of Pickens, S.C., to a national letter of intent and the addition of 6-0 sophomore outside hitter Gracie Davis of Myrtle Beach, S.C., who will transfer to FMU from Presbyterian College.
Gillespie is a product of Pickens High School, where she played for coaches Jennifer Gravely and Rikki Owens. This past season, she registered 477 assists, 234 digs, 123 kills, 45 service aces, and 27 blocks while earning All-State honors. She served as her team captain in 2019, garnered All-Tournament Team recognition at two in-season events, and was presented the U.S. Marine Corps Distinguished Athlete Award. A three-time All-Region selection, she ended her career with more than 2,000 assists while helping Pickens to a 100-22 combined record, a perfect 36-0 mark in region play, and three appearances in the AAAA state title match.
“The very first time I saw Kaylee play this spring during a club volleyball tournament, it took me exactly two points to know that she was the final piece to our puzzle and we needed her,” Baufield said. “A three-sport varsity athlete (volleyball, basketball and softball), Kaylee is a gym rat. She lives to compete. Her ability to hustle and make plays from nothing, make her the perfect fit for our program. On her visit and during a practice with our team, our players loved her immediately. It felt like she was already with us. She made us better, and she will continue to make us better this fall. We were her only collegiate visit and I am ecstatic that she trusts Francis Marion, her teammates and myself to guide her during her collegiate career.”
Davis appeared in 20 matches (55 sets) for a 15-15 Blue Hose squad last season. She compiled 96 kills, 24 digs, 15 blocks, and a .116 attack percentage.
She is a graduate of Myrtle Beach High School, where she played for coach Larry Church. A six-year starter for the Seahawks, she tallied over 2,000 career kills and earned All-State honors five times. As a senior, she was named the Class AAAA Player of the Year by the South Carolina High School Sports Report, and as a junior was named the CAWS Class AAAA Player of the Year, while leading Myrtle Beach to the 2017 state championship. She was a member of the National Honor Society and the Math Honor Society and graduated magna cum laude.
“Having Gracie transfer to our program is a big addition. I was recruiting her out of high school and saw her compete for a state title. I continued to watch her from afar this past fall during her time at Presbyterian. When she entered the portal and wanted to transfer, I knew she had to choose FMU. We have years of a relationship and throughout those years it became evident what Gracie was about on and off the court. She is a silent, but fierce, competitor that will do her best to get the job done for herself and her teammates. She is a tremendous talent and I believe she will elevate our game because of what she can do offensively.”
“Adding two more in-state student-athletes to our program is huge. With the addition of Kaylee and Gracie, we will have a total of five South Carolina natives. Both these student-athletes have an extensive skill set that will translate well to our team. They both have an extreme amount of passion for the game and love to win.”
Baufield previously announced the additions of 5-10 outside hitter and defensive specialist Kathryn Yatooma of Rochester Hills, Mich., 5-9 outside hitter Lexi Albright of Easley, S.C., and 5-6 libero Keely McLain of Maryville, Tenn.
Francis Marion loses only one senior off last season’s 18-14 squad that finished fifth in the Peach Belt Conference.
Courtesy – Francis Marion Athletics