Volleyball standout leaves outstanding legacy at Heritage Academy

 

Heritage Academy’s Mary Virginia “GiGi” Fields (center) will step across the state line to play college volleyball at Birmingham Southern University after signing her scholarship papers Friday. Sharing the occasion with her are Caledonia volleyball coach Kelly Combs (left) and headmaster Dr, Greg Carlyle (right); back (from left) Liz Fields and Heritage volleyball teammates Emily Howard, Allison Yingst, Lores Sharp, Rayne Phillips, Georgiana Brown, Lydia Dyson, and Tina Seals.

Heritage Academy’s Mary Virginia “GiGi” Fields (center) will step across the state line to play college volleyball at Birmingham Southern University after signing her scholarship papers Friday. Sharing the occasion with her are Caledonia volleyball coach Kelly Combs (left) and headmaster Dr, Greg Carlyle (right); back (from left) Liz Fields and Heritage volleyball teammates Emily Howard, Allison Yingst, Lores Sharp, Rayne Phillips, Georgiana Brown, Lydia Dyson, and Tina Seals. Photo by: Don Rowe/Special to The Dispatch

 

Don Rowe

 

 

Middle-hitter Mary Virginia "GiGi" Fields signed a scholarship to continue her volleyball career at Birmingham Southern Friday and according to her coach, headmaster and stepmother/former coach, she will be sorely missed at Heritage Academy next year. 

 

"A true scholar athlete, GiGi is a natural-born leader," said Patriots' first-year coach Kelly Combs, who credits GiGi's stepmother and former coach Liz Fields with laying the groundwork. "On the court, she is coachable, teachable and all around respectful. In the classroom, she is a great student," a sentiment echoed by headmaster Greg Carlyle. 

 

"GiGi is a leader on and off the court" said Carlyle. "She has not only developed into an elite middle-hitter, she has also had a positive impact academically in the classroom where she served as the Student Government Association president. She is also heavily involved in our senior project in partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation which is working on sending a young man from New Hope, Ethan Marks, to Disney World.  

 

"We wish her all the best at Birmingham Southern and we have no doubt she will excel there as well both athletically and academically." 

 

GiGi's former coach and present stepmother, Liz Fields, started coaching her in the 7th grade and then when she started with the varsity her freshman year. 

 

The elder Fields, who played volleyball collegiately at the University of Alabama, called her a once-in-a-lifetime athlete, and said she does everything well on and off the court. 

 

"What I love the most about her is she gives 110% with everything she does," said Fields. "She is a good all around person with a good moral compass. I know she is going to do great things for BSU and their program." 

 

Not content with playing only during the prep season, the younger Fields hones her volleyball skills year-round playing on travel teams during the offseason, 

 

"She played for two years with Southern Performance in Birmingham, but we've switched to the Level Elite Volleyball Club here in Columbus because it's more convenient and will cut down on the travel time," said Liz Fields. 

 

Liz Fields, when asked who would come out on top in a one-on-one match, said: "We'd be equally yoked, but it would be fun to watch."

 

 

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