A Picture of Intensity
Sept. 21, 2000
Memphis, Tenn. - One tournament MVP award and three all-tournament honors, resetting your career high in kills (twice) in the first 11 matches of the season, entering the conference race ranked eighth with 4.00 kills per game...and still pushing to be better. That's what senior April Harriman brings to the Tigers.
Forget that she's the only senior on the team, forget that she's already been set 377 times compared to just 688 times all of last season. Remember spending the entire summer in the Memphis heat playing beach volleyball, remember hours spent in spring practice preparing to become a primary passer, remember all the hours in the weight room. Since coming to Memphis, Harriman has added five inches to her vertical, largely due to her weight room and in the gym work ethic.
When Head Coach Carrie Yerty went out looking at her first recruiting class, she went to California and found a middle hitter from Brethren Christian High School in Los Angeles, California, named April Harriman.
"April has always been a fiery competitor, regardless of which side she's playing on and who she's playing with," Yerty said.
That competitiveness was something that Harriman has been learning to tunnel every since stepping foot in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. "She's done a great job of learning to control and tunnel that competiveness in the right direction. She's a real joy to have in the gym because she always works so hard, but she's really taken control of her emotions in the last three years," Yerty said.
1999 was a difficult year for an opposite side hitter. A freshman setter struggled to get quality sets back to Harriman, and while Harriman was showing a lot of versatility on the attack, she was more often than not scrambling to just get the ball over the net.
"April has worked hard to develop from a part-time player into a full-time player," Yerty said. "Every head coach wants to have a player where at the end of their four years, you know they've developed and reached their full potential. April has done that, by the time she leaves here, she will be the most complete volleyball player she can be. She's switched positions twice in three years (from middle to opposite and this year from opposite to outside) and she really played in a lot of sand and grass tournaments over the summer to make this her best season ever. We had to move her to make sure she was getting more balls to swing at."
How engrained is the thought of getting the ball to April in the minds of her teammates? During the College of Charleston tournament, April stepped in and received a pass against host Charleston. The power of the serve and the momentum of her motion caused Harriman to step out of her shoe. Setter Amie Hamilton received her pass and sent it back to where Harriman stood, missing shoe in hand, and Harriman was left to decide whether to launch her approach in her shoe and sock or just swing at the ball while standing on the floor. Harriman swung from where she stood, holding her shoe and waiting for the officials to realize that she was standing there in her socks. She would eventually be named tournament MVP, shoe and all.
Harriman isn't just getting it done on the court. A six-time member of the Dean's List, Harriman is carrying a double major in communications and political science. She was a member of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee for three years as well as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Last year, Harriman wrote a narrative speech in honor of Veterans Day that was read by Stan Chambers, of KTLA News in Southern California, at the Long Beach Veterans Day Parade in November.
The senior is also active in the Memphis community. She serves as a volunteer coach in the Memphis Junior Volleyball Association and she has tutored and led discussions about staying in school and healthy living for the Junior Achievement Program.