NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — This week’s Cardi’s Furniture & Mattresses Hometown Sports Hero is Annie Draper.

The North Kingstown senior burst on the volleyball scene last fall, earning First Team All-State honors while helping the Skippers bring home their eleventh state title. 

“I think there were a couple of matches where Annie just dominated,” said Head Coach Brian Garrepy. “South Kingstown away, when she had 25-26 kills and owned that match and set a precedent about how she could play on the right side and dominate a match on her own. I think that added a lot of confidence last year, then going into her off season and again this senior year.”

Basketball was Draper’s first love, but she found volleyball in fifth grade thanks to a little convincing from her Basketball Coach, current NK assistant coach Corey Maack.      

“He was just like, ‘come to these instructionals, they are super fun, they are fun,'” Draper said. “And I was like, ‘nope, I don’t want to do it. I want to stay with basketball.’ And I went to one of them and absolutely just fell in love with the sport and everything. All the coaches, all the people… it was just such a fun environment to be in and from that first instructional. I was like, yes, this is what I want to do.” 

Draper has settled on her college plan, committing to play next year at Endicott College. The Gulls won their third-straight Commonwealth Coast Conference title last season, earning them the ninth NCAA appearance in program history. Choosing her future home is allowing Draper to focus fully on her senior year with the Skippers.

“It’s just so nice going into my senior year, knowing where I want to go, knowing that I don’t have to make a long list of colleges,” Draper said. “Just being set and absolutely loving the college I am going to.”

“You have to be humble and have a great work ethic, so I think when she goes there, she’s really trying to build that character here and I think she has it,” Garrepy said. “But I think the sky is the limit for her. She hits the ball a ton so she’s going to learn a lot. The pace is going to grow, but she’s doing all the right things to get there.”

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