Jaci Drinnon

Jaci Drinnon of Morristown East’s volleyball program signed with USC Upstate Friday morning to continue her volleyball and academic career.

A dream came true for Morristown East’s Jaci Drinnon Friday morning as she signed to continue her volleyball and academic career with the University of South Carolina Upstate.

A goal Jaci has always had in mind was playing volleyball at the Divison I level.

She has not accomplished that goal as she will be back in a volleyball uniform next fall with the Lady Spartans of USC Upstate.

“The fact I get to play volleyball for four more years is amazing,” Jaci said. “I really am excited about this next chapter. It’s been a big goal of mind, always. I have had so much fun playing with the girls (at East).”

Jaci played all four years with the Lady ‘Canes under head coach, and mother, Holly Drinnon. Now, she extends her career for another four years.

Friday was a special day for Jaci as her family, friends, coaches and teammates all celebrated with her.

“This day means so much to me,” Jaci said. “To have all the people here with me on this day means a lot. They have all helped me so much through my career. Even some that weren’t here today have played a huge role in helping me accomplish this goal.”

She said the environment of USC Upstate was super positive and she wanted to be a part of a winning program.

Her coach could not be any more proud of what she has accomplished.

“I’m really proud of her for all of the work she has put in,” Holly said. “It’s a very special day to see her sign to play collegiate volleyball. She has done so many things and succeeded so well. I can’t tell you how proud I am of her and this moment for her.”

While her time at East, Jaci primarily played as a setter and racked up 1,364 assists in her career.

Most of those assists come from this past season where she finished with 644.

She also was named the District 2-AAA Player of the Year and has been on the All-District volleyball team multiple times.

Along with the district awards, Jaci received the American Volleyball Coaches Association Best and Brightest Team Award. She also was named to the AVCA High School All-Region team and was an honorable mention as an AVCA All-American.

“She has accomplished so much in her career with East,” Holly said. “She truly stepped up as a leader at a young age for us. She has excelled in everything we have asked from her. She doesn’t only have the athletically ability but the brains for it.”

Jaci mentioned her time at East was special and helped her accomplish this goal of playing volleyball at the collegiate level.

“My time at East was amazing,” she said. “All of the girls I have played with have all shared the same passion for volleyball. It has pushed me to become a better player. I can’t wait to see what the younger girls I played with this past season can achieve in the future.”

Her position as a setter will change as she goes to USC Upstate as she will transition to a defensive specialist/libero. However, this is a position that isn’t new to Jaci considering she has been a libero through her years of playing club volleyball.

USC Upstate will look for her to be a leader but she is ready for the call.

“I had to be quite of a leader this past year,” Jaci said. “I think having to step up at a young age has helped me a lot. During club ball, I have played against some of the top commits in the country. That has really prepared me for the competition level.”

Jaci said she wanted to thank God for the opportunity as well as all of the coaches and teammates that have been involved in her career.

She plans to study sports management while playing volleyball.

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