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Hooch star to play for Volunteers
by Chase Wallace
cwallace@neighbornewspapers.com
July 25, 2012 10:15 AM | 1137 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
At 5-foot-6, Claudia Coco doesn’t have the look of a dominant volleyball player. But don’t let her height fool you.

The 16-year-old rising junior at Chattahoochee makes the most of her frame by utilizing her speed, quickness and court savvy at the libero position.

In two years of high school volleyball, and four years of club ball for the nationally renowned A5 teams in Alpharetta, Coco’s knack for digging balls, returning serves, and setting up her teammates has drawn interest from college recruiters nationwide.

Now recognized as one of the top defensive players in the state, Claudia came to a collegiate decision earlier this summer and made a verbal commitment to play volleyball at the University of Tennessee.

“I can remember back to getting my first letter and how nervous I was, but since then it has all been really exciting,” said Coco, who also considered playing volleyball at Clemson, North Carolina, LSU, Michigan, and Maryland. “I absolutely loved what I saw at Tennessee from the team and the coaches, it’s close to home and they have a great journalism and broadcasting program, which is what I want to do.”

At Tennessee, Coco will play for Rob Patrick and the reigning SEC Champion Lady Volunteers — a program that has made four straight trips to the NCAA Tournament and went 28-4 last fall.

“I’ve always considered myself a decisive person and once I decided on Tennessee, I just wanted to make it official.”

While the talented libero — more affectionately known as ‘Ankle Biter’ and ‘Might Mite’ by her vertically astute teammates — made her decision just halfway through her high school career, she already has a laundry list of accomplishments that can match any upperclassmen in the state.

In two years at Chattahoochee, Coco has led her team to back-to-back Area Championships, two trips to the Final Four of the State Playoffs, and a State Runner-up finish in 2010.

She set the state record for digs in a season by a sophomore (575) last fall and still owns the state record for digs by a freshman (540).

She was also a 2010 AAU All-American and a member of Prep Volleyball’s Frosh59 and Soph79 teams.

Coco said she plans to focus on adding a few more accomplishments to that list before making her way to Knoxville. “Individually, there are always things to work on like my passing, but the biggest things I want to accomplish in these next two years are a state championship and possibly a national championship with my club team.”
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