HomeSportsAthlete Spotlight: ARC's Pandora Keele

Athlete Spotlight: ARC’s Pandora Keele

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It’s not every day a high school sophomore sends a volleyball highlight reel to a prospective school before moving to the area. Then again, Pandora Keele isn’t your everyday athlete.

Keele and her mother moved to the area from small town Shelbyville, Tenn. to help care for Keele’s ailing grandmother. Before arriving in Augusta, Keele scoped out the area teams to see what might be a good fit for continuing her volleyball career, which had gone on since sixth grade.

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“I was trying to figure out what school I wanted to go to, and I found my way here through volleyball,” Keele said. “We looked at Josey and Laney and other schools in the area, but this was the best volleyball program I found.”

Coach David Bradberry said that Keele, a junior at the time, pushed her way onto a varsity team made up of several seniors who had played together since sixth grade, and she instantly made an impact.

Coach David Bradberry leads practice on Wednesday, Sept. 8. Keele is off to the right.

“That’s tough to crack, both socially and on the court, joining a group of kids that know each other and have played together forever, ” Bradberry said. “But we wouldn’t have made it as far without her last year.”

Now a senior, Keele is a captain and a model for the younger players on and off the court.

“Our team, we work really well on the court together,” she said. “I am definitely a leader and some of the younger ones look up to me and I can tell they do.”

Keele has provided a spark of energy for the team, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

“It’s defense, for sure,” she said. “We have to keep focused on that. A lot of the better teams we play have a great offense, so we have to keep our defense strong. If my energy is down, we can be kind of dead on the court, so somebody has to make something happen or make a fire play and get loud to keep the energy up.”

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She said that improving court vision is a focus for the team going forward.

“Seeing the whole court, not a lot of people are able to do that,” she said. “It’s so much to focus on, but if you can see the other side of the court, you can make plays. It’s a team sport. You can’t do it by yourself.”

After the season, Keele is looking forward to playing volleyball in college. Whether it’s nearby or back home, she said she’ll go wherever the game takes her.

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Off the court, Keele said she’s appreciated the natural beauty of Augusta, calling to mind the waterfalls near Savannah Rapids Pavilion and enjoying the river with her teammates.

“Augusta, it’s what you make it,” Keele said. “We visited when I was younger, but it’s definitely helped getting to know our way around and surrounding yourself with good people.”

ARC (8-3) next plays Cross Creek and Harlem on Sept. 14 at Harlem starting at 6 p.m.

Tyler Strong is the Business Editor for The Augusta Press. Reach him at [email protected].


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