Grace and Olivia Underwood both stand at 5-10 and come from Glenda Dawson High School (Pearland, Texas) where they had outstanding careers at the high school and club levels. Each played for the Absolute Volleyball Academy (AVA), coached by Phil Guerrero, and the Dawson High Eagles.
Olivia, who will serve as a setter for the Tornado, was named to the First Team All-District this year and was a second teamer in 2010. She earned Lone Star All-State Honorable Mention honors and was the team speaking captain her senior year. Olivia was a four-year letterwinner for the Eagles and holds the school record for assists in a season.
"It was my upmost priority to sign a high caliber setter for the 2012 class," said Head Coach Chris Toomey. "Olivia is definitely that. Her many accolades speak to the tremendous talent she has on the court, but it is the combination of her volleyball skills and strong leadership skills that will make her an exceptional setter at the college level. I expect Olivia to be a major contributor in her first year at King. Her commitment to volleyball, academics and Christ make her an invaluable addition to our program."
Earlier this month, Olivia was named to the Texas State All-Star Team, a monumental individual honor for Texas high school student-athletes, and will play in the state All-Star game in July.
Grace Underwood will play middle blocker for King. She comes with an extensive resume that dates back to her sophomore year when she was named to the All-District Honorable Mention Team and has escalated since. Following her junior year, Grace was a Second Team All-District honoree and followed up with a senior season where she netted First Team All-District and Lone Stat All-State Team Honorable Mention awards. She played varsity all four seasons and during her career earned the Athletic Academic Maintaining GPA Award every year.
"With the departure of senior middle blocker Kirsten Hamel it was inherent that I find a player who was prepared to play at a high level upon arrival at King," said Toomey. "There is no doubt that Grace has the ability to make an immediate impact as a freshman. Her strong volleyball IQ, work ethic and athleticism will certainly provide a boost for our front court defense and attack. Grace is a young lady with impressive volleyball talent but will also be a great teammate and strong Christian leader for the Lady Tornado."
Both Grace and Olivia helped the Eagles to championships on multiple levels in regular season and tournament play over their careers. Most recently, they were a part of a Dawson High team that became Area Champions and earned a first place finish in the Silver Dickenson Tournament. Following their senior seasons, Grace and Olivia were named to the Greater Houston Volleyball Coaching Association (GHVCA) All-Star team that pooled together the top female high school volleyball players for 4A and 5A schools in the Houston area.
The Tornado finished the 2011 season 23-13 overall and 13-5 in their first season as a member of Conference Carolinas. They earned a No. 3 seed in the West Division, fourth overall, at the Conference Carolinas Tournament. In their tournament opener, King came from two games down to defeat Mount Olive and advance to the semi-final round before falling to eventual champion, Lees-McRae.