April 10, 2014

Lady Lions volleyball standout Seehorn will play for Covenant College

Sometimes you receive a sign and a tough decision becomes a lot easier.

For Christian Heritage School senior Jessica Seehorn, that sign pointed her toward Covenant College.

The Daily Citizen’s 2013 All-Area Volleyball Player of the Year will continue her court career at the NCAA Division III school in Lookout Mountain. While Division III rules do not permit athletic scholarships, Seehorn — who handled a variety of roles for the Lady Lions with no trouble — will receive an academic scholarship covering more than half her tuition.

Seehorn, who was also selected to the 2012 All-Area Volleyball Team, trimmed her college choices to King University in Bristol, Tenn., and Covenant.

They both appeared to be good options. King, an NCAA Division II program, was 32-5 in 2013 and won a share of the Conference Carolinas’ regular-season title. Covenant went 21-11 last season, advancing to the semifinals of the USA South Conference tournament and reaching the 20-win mark for the third straight year.

“It’s kind of been a long process,” Seehorn said. “There was a stage where I was interested in them and other schools. From the very beginning, Covenant was on my list.”

King’s success came under coach Chris Toomey, for whom 2013 was his seventh year as the Tornado’s head coach after spending the previous 14 seasons as an assistant to his mother, Susie Toomey. Last season was Joanna Ehman’s first leading Covenant’s Lady Scots.

Seehorn said Ehman called in December to gauge her interest in joining the Lady Scots. Just a couple of days later, Seehorn received her sign — and made her decision to play for Covenant soon after.

“About two days after (Ehman’s call), I found out the coach at King was stepping down,” she said.

Although recruited for her skills as a setter, Seehorn did pretty much everything for Christian Heritage in her final season with the program, playing at multiple spots on the court. She did it all well, too, helping the Lady Lions go 19-10 and finish fourth in Area 4-A to earn their spot in the Georgia High School Association’s Class A state tournament. They were swept in the opening round by eventual state champion Holy Innocents’.

Seehorn finished the season with 622 assists, the most among varsity players in Murray and Whitfield counties, and also had 167 kills from a position where scoring isn’t the norm, along with 73 aces and 72 digs.

Christian Heritage community coach Lisa Donahue said Seehorn’s experience and talent — she had started since her freshman season — didn’t keep her from continuing to strive for improvement.

“I just think one thing (that stands out about Seehorn) is her commitment,” Donahue said. “She works hard every day. She was our best player, but she never took anything for granted.”

Seehorn continued to improve despite change during her time at Christian Heritage. The Lady Lions competed in the Georgia Independent School Association during her underclassman years before moving to the GHSA before her junior season.

There were coaching changes as well. Kim Parsons led the Lady Lions from 2010 to 2012, Seehorn’s first three varsity seasons. Robin Clements took over as head coach prior to last season, but Donahue handled much of the day-to-day instruction on the court.

Donahue, who was formerly a community coach at Dalton High School, played at North Carolina State, and she sees something special as Seehorn prepares to excel at the next level of competition.

“She goes for the ball, is great defensively, and one of our best servers,” Donahue said. “... She already can read the game and already knows the game. She sees things that are going to happen.”

While she was a star at Christian Heritage, Seehorn believes her best self-promotion tool was playing for the Choo Choo City Volleyball Club, a Chattanooga-area team. She visited Covenant once last summer during a volleyball camp and visited again last fall for a tryout.

“I was trying to figure out if I was staying close or far away,” said Seehorn, who plans to follow a course of study that will prepare her for further education in physical therapy. “Covenant was my close-to-home option. ... It’s going to be a totally different level. I’ll have to work a lot harder. I won’t be the star when I get there.

“Ever since December, I’ve been ready to be up there.”

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