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Fulshear senior Ava Underwood
Fulshear senior libero/setter Ava Underwood verbally committed to Texas A&M in December of her sophomore year.
That's when the real work began.
"I knew I wanted to be prepared when I get (to A&M) and be in my best shape and do my best to make a really big impact," Underwood said. "So, in a way, it did take off some weight, knowing that was secure for me, but it also pushed me even more because I knew how much of an impact I want to have on the program."
Underwood officially signed to become an Aggie on Wednesday morning, one step closer to wrapping up an illustrious high school career that so far includes a state championship and state runner-up finish. Another state tournament appearance is not out of the picture as Underwood and the Chargers are in the regional semifinals this weekend.
"It's been a rollercoaster, but it's been extremely successful," said Underwood, a two-time all-state selection. "I'm just hoping to continue that run, continue that dream of getting to state again. It's been a really great experience, and I wouldn't trade it for the world."
Underwood's recruiting process began when she was in eighth grade at Seven Lakes Junior High. In 2018, she started at libero for Seven Lakes High and helped the team to the regional quarterfinals. In 2019, she transferred to Fulshear and helped the Chargers capture the Class 5A state title.
Last season, Fulshear finished as a state finalist.
Underwood loved the tradition and family aspect of Texas A&M. Though she committed early in her high school career, she'd already been a veteran of the recruiting world by the time she made her decision.
"I really had a lot of time to think about my decision," she said. "I grew up an Aggie. My dad went to A&M. In my heart, I knew that's where I wanted to go, but I explored my options and even that made it more evident to me that that's where I needed to be."
.@FULSHEARVB senior libero/setter @AvaUnderwood16 talks about signing with @AggieVolleyball and stepping up as a setter out of team need for the Chargers. Ava has 1100 assists, 107 kills, 53 aces and 30 blocks this season. #txhsvb @lcisdathletics @Fulshear_HS @FulshearABCpic.twitter.com/nbvJLU353a — Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II)
Underwood is the prototypical team player, a fiery leader who demands the most out of herself and her teammates. Though she was recruited to A&M as a libero, Underwood moved to setter before the Chargers' first playoff game last season despite never having set before.
This year, she has played there permanently, totaling 1,100 assists with 107 kills, 53 aces and 30 blocks.
"Me and coach (Sydney Zimmerman) had multiple conversations, just trying to figure out the best thing for our team," Underwood said. "We both came to a conclusion that we needed a setter and that I was the best candidate. Of course, I'm willing to do whatever I need for my team. I've learned so much as a player from that switch. It's been cool learning more about the game, and I think my volleyball IQ has extended a lot since then."
Now Underwood has one final goal as a Charger remaining: help Fulshear through the upcoming regional tournament this weekend and get back to state for a third straight year.
"We have this fight to where we're kind of an underdog, even having gone to state last year and winning it the year before," said Underwood, who calls this year's Chargers "gritty." "We've had a lot of change on our team, but it's made us stronger than ever. We've overcome a lot, and I feel like we're finally hitting our stride."
What we hear all the time is that so many memories are made on the bus rides to and from games.
Well, leave it to VYPE's CCO Matt Malatesta to bring VYPE followers inside the inner sanctum of the Bus Trip.
In our inaugural episode, we hop on the Fulshear Volleyball bus en route to their match against FB Marshall.
Take a ride with VYPE to see what really happens as teams bounce and bound to their respective road games.
And watch out, Malatesta and videographer Cameron Driskill might just be jumping on your bus in weeks to come.