PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Sports

April 16, 2014

Nederland's Kelsey Beard signs with Lamar

NEDERLAND —  Lamar University gave Nederland senior Kelsey Beard the chance to stay close to home and she accepted the offer.

Beard signed Wednesday to play volleyball for the Lady Cardinals under new Coach Alan Edwards. Edwards takes over the Lamar program that has missed the Southland Tournament the last two seasons.

“I wanted my family to be able to come see me play,” Beard said.

Beard is also making the decision to play volleyball over softball. She said she started to play volleyball in the seventh grade and fell in love with it.

“I knew I didn’t want to play softball at the collegiate level,” Beard said. “Volleyball will be more challenging. It is exciting. Not many players get the chance to play college volleyball. To be able to play D1, that is a big deal.”

Beard said she has been told she will play as an outside hitter at Lamar, something she did last year for the Lady Bulldogs. Beard before that had played as a middle for most of her volleyball career.

Nederland volleyball coach Justeen Coulson said even though she only coached Beard for one season, she knew Lamar was the destination Beard always had in mind.

“When they got the new coach I knew we had to talk to them again about Kelsey,” Coulson said. “When she got the offer, I was so pumped for her. She is very deserving and is a physical enough player to play at that level. Now hopefully Lamar will continue to recruit this area because there is enough talent in Southeast Texas.”

Beard said she also hopes the Lamar program starts to look locally for players in the future.

“Lamar has had success in the past and I think we can achieve it again,” Beard said. “He (Edwards) said there is a lot of local talent. Lamar needs to find it to have more fans at the games. There is talent here.”

Nederland softball coach Will Mallett also applauded Beard for her signing.

“I am super excited for Kelsey,” Mallett said. “If she has the same dedication in volleyball she has in softball, she is going to be very successful.”

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