High School Sports

Tumwater volleyball standout Kennedy Croft commits to Gonzaga

Tumwater's Kennedy Croft, a soon-to-be junior — who was selected as The Olympian’s All-Area player of the year last fall — announced her commitment to Gonzaga University on Friday via Twitter.
Tumwater's Kennedy Croft, a soon-to-be junior — who was selected as The Olympian’s All-Area player of the year last fall — announced her commitment to Gonzaga University on Friday via Twitter. Staff photographer

One day — one hour even — was all the time Kennedy Croft needed to decide.

Croft, a soon-to-be junior and volleyball standout at Tumwater High School, announced via Twitter on Friday that she committed to play at Gonzaga University. She briefly attended a morning session at the school’s four-day camp before her family flew to Hawaii to celebrate her grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary.

“I went (to Gonzaga), and I was like, ‘I’ve never been here before, but this is super cool,’” Croft said. “I met with coaches, it all just kind of flowed.”

“Kennedy left there feeling so excited,” said Tana Otton, Croft’s mother and Tumwater’s volleyball coach. “The camp, the coaching staff — everything was so right. Then we had to leave.”

Now, Croft will get to go back.

“The big part of it was how (first-year coach Diane Nelson) viewed me as a player,” she said. “She understood what kind of player I am — I’m not a huge, 6-3 person, but she understood what I can bring.”

Something along the lines of a high kills-per-game average. Croft reset her own single-game kills record at Tumwater (31) during the Class 2A state tournament last November. She was also selected as The Olympian’s All-Area volleyball player of the year, and is the reigning 2A EvCo MVP.

She helped lead the T-Birds to a fifth-place finish at the state tournament in 2015. Tumwater won the state title in 2014 when Croft was a freshman.

Nelson offered Croft — who also had offers from Eastern Washington and Portland — on Friday. Croft said she consulted her mother and her club coach at Puget Sound Volleyball Academy — former Washington State University All-American setter, Stephanie Papke. With the go-ahead from both parties, Croft promptly committed.

“I’m pumped,” she said.

Lauren Smith: 360-754-5473, @smithlm12

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