Northeastern's Carver set to join Maryland Eastern Shore volleyball
Committed to volleyball program this summer
By Malcolm Shields
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Mauri Carver was a late bloomer to the sport of volleyball.
Despite picking up the sport her freshman year at Northeastern High School, Carver had the physical tools and the work ethic to be a quick study.
Four years later, Carver is set to become a Division I volleyball player.
Carver made her commitment official to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore at a signing ceremony at Northeastern on Monday afternoon.
“It’s a really exciting day,” Carver said.
Carver noted that Monday was a day that she had been dreaming about since she first started playing volleyball.
“It’s a dream come true,” she said.
Carver comes from a family where basketball is the No. 1 sport.
Her brothers, Aaron and Trey, currently play basketball at the Division I level.
Aaron is a redshirt sophomore at Old Dominion, while Trey is a sophomore at Hampton.
Both of her parents played basketball at the college level.
Her father, Anthony, was a standout player at Old Dominion in the late 1980s, while her mother, Tia, played at Elizabeth City State.
Having family members that were college athletes made Mauri set goals for herself.
“I knew that I didn’t want to be the one that didn’t get a scholarship,” she said. “It made me want to work hard.”
And Mauri earned her scholarship.
Mauri added that her brothers have given her advice about how to manage as a college athlete.
“I can always rely on them for advice when I need it in the future,” she said.
In a basketball-centric family, Mauri initially picked up cheerleading as her sport.
Mauri was involved in cheerleading from her fourth grade year to the beginning of her freshman year at NHS.
When Northeastern coach Courtney Smith spotted the over 6-foot tall freshman, she knew that she had to convince Mauri to give volleyball a try.
Mauri admits that it was difficult at first.
Mauri noted that adjusting the different movements from cheerleading to volleyball along with playing with more experienced players was difficult.
Her sophomore year was when Mauri noted that she really began to understand volleyball.
Mauri credits former NHS teammate Maci Keaton for helping her pick up the sport.
To Mauri, it meant a lot for Keaton, who is a freshman volleyball player at Radford University, to work with her one-on-one during their time together at Northeastern.
“She always believed in me,” Mauri said. “It was very encouraging to see that someone else sees potential in you.”
In three years at the varsity level, Smith has seen growth from Mauri.
The NHS coach noted that when Mauri started, her knowledge of the sport was limited.
“Now she knows the game probably better than I do,” Smith said. “She made [volleyball] her life.”
That includes playing travel volleyball with Coastal NEC with other high school players in the area.
Smith noted that at first she wanted Mauri to be an intimidating presence at the net.
Her hard work transitioned Mauri from a raw athlete with height to a polished volleyball player.
“She turned into more of a well-rounded player,” Smith said. “She’s a great server, she can pass if I needed her to. She’s not just a blocker, she’s really good at hitting.”
Smith noted that her positive attitude and her work ethic are some of Mauri’s top attributes.
Coaches in the Northeastern Coastal Conference took notice of her talents.
Mauri was named to the league’s all-conference first team this fall and was named an all-league performer in 2016.
Mauri was a three-year starter on varsity as a middle blocker for the Lady Eagles.
The past three seasons, the Lady Eagles earned trips to the 2A state playoffs.
This fall, NHS advanced to the first round of the 2A state playoffs and appeared in the NCC tournament final against Currituck last month.
Mauri is set to join one of the top programs in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
Maryland Eastern Shore (26-7) completed a 12-0 regular season in the MEAC Northern Division.
The Hawks are the top seed from the Northern Division entering the MEAC tournament, which begins on Friday at Maryland Eastern Shore.
Mauri, who plans to major in special education, noted that UMES coach Toby Rens and the program had a family-like environment.