Navarro senior Sydney Sahd (seated, center) gathers with family members and coaches Wednesday afternoon while inking her commitment to join Henderson State’s volleyball program during a signing event in the NHS gym.
(Geronimo) – Navarro High School senior Sydney Sahd signed a letter of intent Wednesday afternoon to play college volleyball at Henderson State, an NCAA Division II member of the Great American Conference in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.
Sahd earned All-District accolades at the libero position each of the past four seasons, and led the Panthers in digs over the last three years.
Arkadelphia is some 500 miles northeast of Guadalupe County, but Sahd reeled off a sizeable list of attributes that drew her to Henderson State and the staff of the Reddies’ second-year head coach Phillip McDaniel.
“I went to the camp during the summer, and everyone was just so positive, and the energy, and you know when you know it’s home,” Sahd said. “Everything was so welcoming. The players, I got to talk to each one of them, and they were just so open to new people, and it just felt like home. It’s beautiful, so that aspect of it – it’s gorgeous. And then the coaches, I clicked really well with the coaches. They’re brand new, so they’re trying to build a program. I think I’m the first actual recruiting class for them, so it’s going to be fun building that with them.”
Sahd helped Navarro advance to the 4A Region IV championship match each of the past two seasons, and to the UIL State Tournament in 2016. She played for two head coaches during her career with the Panthers – Phyllis Fowler for first three years and Nicole Blakeman as a senior.
Blakeman says Sahd’s defensive leadership and mind for the game factored heavily in Navarro’s successful transitional season.
“The biggest change we had is I ran a different defense than Coach Fowler did, and so explaining the defense to Sydney and having her buy into the defense as the sort of quarterback of the defense, being the libero, was vital to our success,” Blakeman noted. “I think she took it, ran with it, and actually did an excellent job learning a whole new defense.”
Sahd, who plans to major in forensic psychology, is excited to open the next chapter in her athletic and academic career after four memorable years at Navarro High School.
“It’s been incredible,” Sahd said. “It’s been life changing. It’s played such a big role, vital role in my life, and all the amazing coaches and these players, I’m going to miss so much. They’ve really helped form who I am as a person.”