By Joe Naiman
Ramona High School senior Mikayla Derochie has signed a letter of intent to play volleyball with Davidson College.
“I’m very excited,” Derochie said of signing.
“Very excited for Mikayla to be recognized,” said coach Connie Halfaker.
Halfaker noted that Derochie became Ramona’s first volleyball player to sign a letter of intent with an NCAA Division I school during the early signing period.
“It’s quite an honor and a testament to her ability. I’m confident that she’s going to bring leadership and competitive drive to their program,” Halfaker said.
Derochie, who played setter for Ramona, was a three-year starter for the Bulldogs. In 2011, Ramona was in the Palomar League, whose coaches named Derochie to the league’s second team. The Bulldogs spent the 2012 girls volleyball season in the Valley League, whose coaches made Derochie an all-league first team selection. Ramona was in Division II for CIF playoff purposes both years, and Derochie was on the all-division second team in both 2011 and 2012.
During the 2012 season, Derochie averaged 11.8 assists per game and also had 31 digs, 18 kills, and six aces.
“Mikayla adds some tremendous depth to our program at the setter position,” said Davidson coach Chris Willis. “Her size (Derochie is 5’11”) and ability to run a fast offense will help tremendously with her transition to the college level.”
Derochie was born in Calgary and moved to Ramona when she was in fourth grade. She attended Barnett Elementary School and Olive Peirce Middle School prior to her four years at Ramona High School.
Derochie was in sixth grade at Olive Peirce when she took up volleyball.
“I was just looking for a sport to play,” she said.
Derochie tried several sports before deciding that she liked volleyball best. She made Ramona High School’s junior varsity team as a ninth-grader before starting on the varsity for her other three high school seasons. Derochie began club volleyball play with Epic while she was a high school freshman and still plays for Epic.
Derochie had also been considering Eastern Washington, but she was the alternate for the Eagles’ scholarship offer which fell through when the school’s first preference committed.
“I kind of lost hope for a while,” Derochie said.
She was then offered a scholarship at Davidson, which is in North Carolina. Derochie wanted to visit the campus prior to committing and made her trip in December.
“Everything seemed to work out,” she said. “It’s a good fit for me academically.”
Derochie will be a biology major at Davidson. She hopes to become a physical therapist.
Davidson’s starting setter in 2012, Ariel Ley, was a senior, so Derochie will be competing for the starting job during the 2013 preseason.
Although Derochie did not play any other sports at Ramona High, she was in the Fusion service club as a sophomore and junior. Her favorite memory of being on the Bulldogs’ volleyball team is the closeness of the team members.