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Ava Harrington, Episcopal
Ava Harrington vividly remembers where she was and what she was doing the afternoon of November 9, 2019.
She was a freshman volleyball player watching her team, Episcopal, sweep Episcopal School of Dallas to win the Southwest Preparatory Conference Championship.
“I was sitting on the bench and was so excited for my teammates,” said Harrington, the only freshman on the team. “When we finally won that game point, I was emotional. I was just so proud of what we came through.
“I think about what it’ll be like when I’m on the court with a chance to win another championship. I thought about it all summer. Whether it’s the third, fourth or fifth set, I think about being the one to get everybody on the same page because I know we’ll need each other.”
Now a senior for the Knights, Harrington is ready to seize her moment.
The 6-foot-2 middle blocker had an inauspicious season last year. She started as an outside hitter. Two months into the season, she was moved to the right side.
Then she was moved again to the middle, her typical position.
As a result, Harrington’s numbers took a dive from her sophomore year. She averaged fewer kills and digs per set and had a worse hitting percentage.
“Last season, I was moved to a new position so I wasn’t playing as well as I could have,” she said. “There were setter-hitter connections that didn’t work as well, so once we moved me to right side and middle, I was able to pick things up.”
Despite all the maneuvering, Harrington was productive. She totaled 158 kills and 98 blocks, ranking fourth and first, respectively, on the team.
After a successful club season, and knowing she’ll be back this year at the middle blocker role she thrives in, Harrington is hungry to prove last year was an aberration.
“Knowing I’ll be where I want to be will make a big difference,” she said. “I’ve really grown as a middle blocker since last season and through the club season, being able to read sets, my transitioning and my quickness.”
Harrington has played in the middle since she started club volleyball as a 12-year- old. She’s used to running a fast offense from that spot. With a standing reach of 96 inches, Harrington is tall, has impressive reflexes and is quick side-to-side.
She has good balance, a high contact point and swings hard. It’s those measurables and skills that attracted the coaches at Princeton, where Harrington is committed to play at the next level.
Harrington said she’s improved as a passer, server and blocker playing for her club team, Houston Skyline, during the offseason.
She’s ready to put it all on display in 2022.
“I want to showcase everything I’ve learned and how far I’ve come,” Harrington said. “But my ultimate goal is leaving this program with another championship ring on my finger.”
Following the departure of legendary head coach Amanda Watts, who led the Knights to two SPC championships since 2017 and spent the last 10 years establishing Episcopal as a volleyball powerhouse in Houston, Episcopal brought in another elite coach in Cydryce McMillian.
McMillian comes to Episcopal after leading St. Agnes Academy to State Championships in two of the last three seasons, and a State Runner-Up finish in 2020. Even more, McMillian will have plenty of talent to help ease her move.
Returning for the Knights are junior outside hitter Ally Frailey, senior middle blocker Ava Harrington, senior middle Farah Farooq and senior hitter/defensive specialist Emma Poirot. Junior libero Mykayla McMillian, junior right- side hitter/middle blocker Jenniya Lane and junior setter/right side hitter Tiara Gordon will also have a substantial say in the team’s success this year.