Emilie Philpott headed to Nicholls State after upcoming senior year
by Chuck Licata
Itâs a trend thatâs spreading smiles in the Liberty Hill ISD community.
The trend: Liberty Hill High School student/athletes signing (and committing) to play at NCAA Division I schools.
Especially in the volleyball program, as the Lady Panthers have sent two players to a D-1 school in the past four years. Thatâs because Emilie Philpott, who will be a senior this coming season, gave a verbal commitment last week to play at Nicholls State University.
Philpott will officially sign Nov. 1 with the Louisiana school.
âTo be able to play Division I volleyball â itâs awesome and I didnât think it was possible,â Philpott stated. âIt still hasnât sunk in yet. Not a lot of kids get to play D-I sports, especially volleyball. Especially those from our club, or even from Class 3A (Liberty Hill is a Class 3A school).
âIâm very happy to follow in the footsteps of Jackie Wattles (former LHHS player who now plays at the University of Connecticut). (Liberty Hill) Coach (Gretchen) Peterson runs a great program; she teaches us the fundamentals and how each of her players can succeed if they work hard.â
Emilie, according to her father James, got noticed by Nicholls State coaches (among others) while playing with her club team.
âThey watched Emilie play in a National Qualifier earlier in the season,â stated James Philpott, who does color commentary on the K-MAC Sports broadcasts of LHHS volleyball. âThey then traveled to Orlando last week to watch her play in the AAU Nationals.Â The offer was made to Emilie a few days later.â
âThe offer came last Tuesday,â Emilie confirmed. âThe coach (Patrick Hiltz) wanted me to commit right then and there. I had other offers, but this was a D-I school. Iâd done a lot of research on the school.
âWe just got back from visiting the school. Itâs a pretty good size (about 7,000 students) and itâs an hour outside of New Orleans. The campus has everything! Dorms were great, kids I met were very nice, the gym was awesome. Iâm going into psychology and Nicholls has a great psychology program. They have good hands on instruction and a good program (overall).â
Nicholls coach Patrick Hiltz will be in his first year as head coach of the Colonels. He succeeded TeAna Tramel, who resigned after leading the Colonels to an 18-14 overall record; the 18 wins was the most for a Nicholls State team since 2002. Also the 2011 squad won a school-record 13 straight matches during the season.
âAs you can imagine Emilie is thrilled and we couldnât be more proud,â James Philpott declared. âWe are also thrilled to have the recruiting process done. Emilie can now focus on having a great senior season and not have to worry about colleges.â
The younger Philpott, who has actually grown an inch or two since last season, was very thankful.
âIâm so grateful to so many people,â Emilie said. âCoach Peterson in her instruction; sheâs been a huge help to me. Of course, I couldnât have done anything without my wonderful parents; theyâve always been supportive of everything Iâve done.
âEveryone on my volleyball team and all my coaches deserve a big âthank youâ for all theyâve done for me, too.â