Lacey Levers had watched her older sister, Ashley, play volleyball and wanted to follow in her footsteps.
The only problem is that she was only 81/2 at the time, and wanted to play for a 12-and-under team.
"My sister was playing for the Renaissance Volleyball Club and I was always around when she was practicing," said Lacey Levers, who is now a senior at Chartiers-Houston High School. "I wanted to try out for the team and fortunately they let me."
Despite the obvious age disparity, Levers was allowed to play for the 12-and-under team.
"I was a bit nervous at first because most of my teammates had played before," Levers said. "Fortunately, the girls accepted me and I quickly fit in with the team."
Levers has played club volleyball for Renaissance ever since.
"Brian Begor has been my club coach since I started playing volleyball," Levers said. "He's helped me so much over the years."
With such an early start, it was no surprise that Levers earned a spot on Chartiers-Houston's varsity team as a freshman. She quickly made a name for herself by earning third-team honors on the WPIAL Class A All-Star Team as a freshman and sophomore.
After two seasons with the Buccaneers and a solid background of club ball, Levers was being noticed by numerous college programs.
"We had 20 [NCAA] Division I programs looking at Lacey," said Lori Levers, Lacey's mom.
But that changed in an instant when Levers sustained a season-ending knee injury during her junior year.
"We were playing Bentworth in a section match [in September of 2011]," Lacey Levers recalls. "I was hitting in the back row when I came down awkwardly and tore an [anterior cruciate ligament].
"I had surgery on Oct. 11 and began rehab six or seven days later."
The injury brought back painful memories of an injury that ended Ashley Levers' career.
"Ashley tore the ACL and MCL while playing at Waynesburg [University]," Lori Levers said. "It was bad enough that it ended her career. Lacey was lucky that it was just a torn ACL. She sprained the MCL, but it did not require surgery."
The surgery ended the season for Lacey Levers.
"It was tough to be out of action for so long," Lacey said. "I just focussed on my rehab. My main goal was to get healthy enough to make sure it didn't happen again."
Levers went through several stages during her rehab. She was allowed to run track during the spring, but wasn't allowed to play volleyball until June of this year.
"My times weren't very good," said Levers, who ran in sprint events for the Bucs. "But it did feel good to get back to sports."
Having her volleyball season end so abruptly didn't help her recruiting.
"With Lacey out of action, most of the colleges who were interested in her moved on to other players," Lori Levers said.
Fortunately, Duquesne University didn't lose interest. In August, Dukes coach Steve Opperman offered a cholarship and Levers quickly accepted. The two sealed the deal last month during the early signing period, as she signed with Duquesne.
"Duquesne is the first campus I visited," said Levers, a 6-foot-1 middle hitter. "I really liked the campus, the coaches and the players. And it's not too far from home, so my family can come watch me play. It's even better to know that they are paying for my education."
Lacey Levers also excels in the classroom. She has a 3.83 grade point average, which will raise above 4.0 when she completes three advanced placement classes.
"I've been accepted into the school of nursing," Levers said.
Lori Levers got a chance to coach Lacey and her younger daughter, Kylee, this year when the head coaching position at Chartiers-Houston opened up.
"It was such a joy to coach Lacey and Kylee this year," Lori Levers said. "And both were recognized on the WPIAL All-Star Team."
Lacey Levers was voted to the first team and will most likely be a member of the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association Class A Finest 40 when it is released next month.
Kylee Levers, a 5-9 freshman setter/right-side hitter, was voted to the second team."hsother