Athlete of the Year: Allman does it all on volleyball floor

Following a hectic two-sport junior year, one might expect to see North Myrtle Beach’s Taylor Allman spending her offseason on the beach.

But, true to the competitive spirit that earned her the Mammy’s Kitchen Volleyball Athlete of the Year, she was playing in a beach volleyball tournament and already preparing for next season.

“I prefer indoor, six-on-six volleyball, but if you can be a good beach volleyball player then you can be a great indoor player,” said Allman, who partnered with Lady Chiefs teammate Ellen Johnson to finish third in the tournament.

“It’s a lot harder to run and jump on the sand, and with the two-on-two you have to cover a lot more ground and be able to communicate really well. It’s definitely keeping me in shape for the fall. I’m totally looking forward to this season.”

And for good reason. The Lady Chiefs finished second in Region VIII-AAA last season to rival Myrtle Beach, which suffered several key losses after making a run to the Class AAA state title game. Allman hopes this is the year they take the baton.

“We lost two seniors but we have our best players coming back,” she said. “We’ve been working hard since the season ended (by playing Grand Strand Juniors and beach volleyball) and we’re really hungry to make this our year.”

Allman, who also stars for the Lady Chiefs basketball team, is putting an extra emphasis on staying healthy this summer. Surgery cost her the first six volleyball games of the season last year, and she doesn’t want to miss a moment of her senior season.

“It’s tough for me to sit out for 2 minutes of a match, much less miss six games,” said Allman, who had 174 digs, 137 kills, 30 aces and 28 blocks as a middle back and middle hitter. “It’s really important for me to have a great senior year, both in volleyball and basketball.”

With both college volleyball and basketball scouts checking her out, Allman may have a difficult decision ahead about which sport and school to choose. But she isn’t going to let it detract from trying to go out a winner at NMB.

“I’ll worry about that once I see what schools are offering for which sport,” said Allman. “This will probably be my last year to play both, so I really want to enjoy it and, hopefully, have two great seasons.”

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