Franklin Regional volleyball’s Kane overcomes injuries, signs with George Washington
Knee injuries that stole two of her varsity seasons didn’t keep Franklin Regional senior Gillian Kane from realizing a dream to play college volleyball.
Kane put pen to paper last week and made things final on a new academic and athletic journey at Division I George Washington University.
“I am really excited for the future,” Kane said.
“George Washington is a really strong program. There were freshman that came in and got a lot of playing time this season. That’s very encouraging for me. Everything is exactly what I was looking for. I can’t wait for next year.”
Kane said the George Washington coaches have been very encouraging through the whole process, including the second knee injury, a right ACL tear in late May that caused her to miss her entire senior season.
“The coaches are very motivating,” Kane said.
“They made no promises, but they said if I continue to work hard, I will get a chance to get on the court as a freshman. They stuck with me through the second injury.”
The right-handed libero and defensive specialist is five months out from surgery, and, she said, she will be cleared to return to the court on about Dec. 9.
George Washington finished near the top of the Atlantic 10 standings in the regular season with an 11-3 league mark.
The Colonials take a 21-7 overall record into the conference semifinals Saturday at 7 p.m. in Dayton, Ohio. The title game is set for Sunday.
George Washington has won six straight matches and is the No. 2 seed for the tournament. Host Dayton is the top seed.
Kane said she got connected with George Washington through the help of the National Collegiate Scouting Association website.
The site allows potential recruits to post profiles, videos and messages with personal quotes in hopes of gaining the attention of collegiate coaches.
“I gave them a call, and the coaches watched my videos and came to see me play. It led them to giving me an offer,” said Kane, who plans to major in exercise science with a goal to work in the field of pediatric physical therapy.
Kane lost her sophomore season at Franklin Regional because of a left-knee ACL tear in a summer league basketball game in June of 2012.
She rehabbed the knee and returned as a captain for her junior year in 2013.
The Panthers finished 5-7 and in fourth place in Section 1-AAA behind Norwin (11-1), Penn-Trafford (10-2) and Hempfield (9-3).
“The injuries and missing two seasons have been tough and a little frustrating, but I’ve received so much support from my family, coaches and teammates,” Kane said.
“I’ve tried to keep my attitude positive no matter what. Everything happens for a reason. I’m not sure I’d be sane if I didn’t keep telling myself that. Everything seemed to work out for the best.”
Franklin Regional went 2-10 in section play this past fall, and the team scored wins over Kiski Area and Latrobe.
Kane said head coach Mike Feorene kept the girls motivated and positive despite the tough win-loss record.
“Coach Feorene really helped me out with everything throughout the recruiting process,” Kane said.
Coach Feorene said he will miss Kane’s presence on and off the court.
“The injuries have been devastating for her, but she is a die-hard player who is dedicated and has an extremely high work ethic,” he said.
“The reason she got back to serving a couple of games at the end of the year is her focus on her recovery. She has a complete drive for the game. She was a role model to the younger kids. She could teach the skills because (her skills) are at a high level. She pushed the other girls, and it was like having another coach on the bench.”
Kane said she is looking forward to returning to the court soon with her Pittsburgh Elite Club team.
She said she’s enjoyed her club experiences throughout the years, including the opportunity to train at the U.S. Olympic facility in Colorado Springs.
“She always wants to keep learning and improving, and it’s the same in the classroom for her,” Feorene said.
Michael Love is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-388-5825 or at [email protected].