By Tim O’Brien
The Beverly Review

Mia Wallace was understandably surprised.

Just a year ago, she was playing eighth-grade volleyball at Kellogg Elementary School. Then, heading into her freshman year at Morgan Park Academy (MPA), the Beverly resident was told she had made the varsity squad.

Now a month-plus into the season, Wallace is showing she belongs.

Although host MPA lost to Heritage Christian 25-15, 25-14 on Sept. 27 in a nonconference match, Wallace finished with 4 kills and 3 aces for the Warriors.

“I was pretty shocked,” Wallace said. “Coming in as a freshman, I didn’t think I was going to make varsity. Shocked, but pretty excited.”

With a young team featuring only two seniors, MPA Coach Dan Cantone saw Wallace’s potential to contribute quickly.

Wallace also plays on the JV squad, and then takes the step up for the varsity matches. She is a setter for the JV team and plays outside hitter for the varsity.

“Setting for JV and hitting for varsity, you can see she’s a real athlete,” Cantone said. “Mia has a real mind for the game that you don’t see in a lot of freshmen. It’s really exciting to see.”

Adjusting to the speed of varsity competition in the Independent School League and nonconference matches, Wallace is working hard to gain as much knowledge as she can.

“I feel like I’ve learned a lot,” Wallace said. “I was anxious in the beginning. Now that I’ve been practicing, I’m learning more technique and doing a better job.”