Higgins signs to play volleyball at Mesa

PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER TOMLINSON—Central’s Haleigh Higgins will no longer be shuffling between three sports, signing Tuesday to focus on volleyball at Mesa State.

Haleigh Higgins now gets to focus on volleyball, and only volleyball.

Tuesday, the three-sport athlete at Central High School signed to play volleyball at Mesa State College.

While at Central, Higgins was also an all-conference basketball player and is currently a member of the Warriors’ soccer team.

“It’s been four long years of having practice for something every day,” Higgins said. “I’m definitely excited to specialize, and I think I’ll get a lot better as a volleyball player.”

Despite splitting her time among three sports, Higgins is already a well-respected volleyball player. She was on the All-Southwestern League team the past three seasons, including being the SWL player of the year in 2009.

Beth Nelson coached Higgins, and after she spent two years on the front line, Nelson moved the 5-foot-11 senior to setter this past season.

“She’s one of the most athletic kids I’ve ever coached,” Nelson said. “She can do so many different things, so it’ll be interesting to see what she plays at Mesa.”

Higgins’ position at Mesa State will be up to coach Dave Fleming. Higgins has been going to the Mesa State volleyball camp for a long time, and knows what to expect on the court.

“Coach Fleming is awesome, and I don’t think I’d be the volleyball player I am today without being at all those camps,” Higgins said. “I can fit into that program because I grew up learning (Fleming’s) style and the way they play.”

With Higgins concentrating solely on volleyball, Nelson said her best days are ahead of her.

“Coach Fleming and I talked about her growth when he was interested in her, and we both said we haven’t come even close to seeing her best,” Nelson said.

“She’ll give so much to that program, and watch for her junior and senior year in college, because once she gets two years in that program, I think it’ll be fun to see.”

Higgins is joining a Mesa State program that went 19-11 last season, but missed the NCAA tournament despite winning seven of its final nine matches.

“I think Mesa is one of the best schools in the RMAC,” Higgins said. “And it’ll continue to get better and better. Mesa’s a program that’s growing a lot and there are a lot of good people coming in.”


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