JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Science Hill senior Molly Williams played a handful of sports growing up.

“I played softball and basketball as well in my younger years, but whenever I reached high school I kind of wanted to focus on volleyball because I was more natural,” she said.

That can happen when your mom played collegiately at Tusculum.

“Yeah she taught me pretty much everything that I know,” Williams said.

One thing you cannot teach is a joy for the game. Luckily, Williams has plenty of it.

“I like how you really don’t have a moment to stop and think, you just kind of do it,” she said. “Whenever I step on the court I don’t think of anything else. I’m just ready to play – ready to win.”

As a freshman and sophomore, Williams began to build confidence and a role within the Toppers’ program.

Then came a bump in the road.

“I did have setback my junior year with an injury – I didn’t get to play that year,” she said.

The road back to the volleyball court was often just as bumpy.

“There would be days that I was like ‘I don’t know if I can push myself to get there,'” Williams said.

“You always have that thought in your mind – you didn’t know if you were going to be as good as you were,” she continued. “But, luckily, I came back stronger.”

In fact, Williams believes it was the season-consuming injury that forged her resolve.

“I think that really did make me the hard-working athlete I am today – it changed my mindset and changed my goals,” she explained.

Nearly every goal Williams laid out, she achieved in her senior season. She finished the 2022-23 campaign with 731 digs – the most of any high schooler in the Volunteer State. She earned Big 5 Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors and was named to the All-Region and All-State squads.

She finished her high school volleyball career with 1,508 digs – and a 3.88 GPA to boot.

“I mean I knew I could get there,” she said. “I knew it would take a lot of hard work.”

All of that hard work paid off last week when Williams signed to play Division I volleyball at UNC-Asheville beginning this fall.

“Whenever I did go there – I felt at home,” she said. “It’s a new coach and I am glad to have the opportunity to help build that foundation for the program and build up the program there.”