Meredith Hardy has earned many accolades in her three years as a member of the East Tennessee State University Lady Bucs volleyball team.
During the 2013 season alone, she garnered her second First Team All-Atlantic Sun award along with one A-Sun Player of the Week and three A-Sun Defensive Player of the Week honors. She broke the all-time A-Sun record for blocks and ETSU’s all-time record for block assists. She has 474 total blocks and 404 block assists in 96 career matches played, while she has also recorded at least one block in 91 consecutive matches.
But the honor of which Hardy is most proud is her recent naming as an Atlantic Sun Conference co-Scholar Athlete of the Year with Lipscomb University’s Caitlin Dotson.
“I really appreciated being named Scholar Athlete of the Year,” Hardy said. “Any athlete can tell you it’s hard, in-season, to balance school and sports.”
The junior exercise science major from Kingsport holds a 3.879 cumulative grade point average and has received A-Sun All-Academic honors in each of her first three seasons. She has been named to the dean’s list numerous times and was placed on the Buccaneer 4.0 Club in the spring of 2013, in addition to being a four-time Buccaneer Honor Roll selection.
Hardy, who had been a soccer player in elementary and middle school, first tried her hand at volleyball when she was in the seventh grade, and while she says “it wasn’t pretty,” she enjoyed it. She was a stand-out at Dobyns-Bennett High School who helped lead her team to the 2009 state title and earned a number of conference and state honors.
She chose ETSU for many reasons, primarily to play for head coach Lindsey Devine and to continue with teammates and good friends Jamie Rutledge and Megan Devine.
“It’s hard to think of anything else other than volleyball,” Hardy said. “That is my one love, so I really do enjoy being part of the team. I love the atmosphere – we have awesome fan support – and the opportunities I’ve been given as part of the team.”
In addition to playing volleyball and studying, Hardy spends time coaching young players in her Kingsport volleyball club and, with her ETSU teammates, serving meals at the Salvation Army, assisting at the university’s Little Buccaneers Child Care Center, and performing other community service.
Hardy plans to graduate in the spring of 2015 and is considering a career in occupational therapy, among other options. But no matter what career she chooses, she hopes volleyball will continue to play a big role in her life, perhaps through coaching or even playing in a European league for a few years.