Senior Vaughan Anoa’i signs letter of intent, commits to play Division I volleyball at Georgetown University


Photo credit: Chloe Fidler

Vaughan, Tiffany and Reno Anoa’i smile after Vaughan officially signed her letter of intent to play at Georgetown University. According to Marissa Gendy, fellow senior, Vaughan has worked so hard, and will do incredible things in the future.

By Chloe Fidler, Voices Editor

After countless hours, practices and games, senior Vaughan Anoa’i verbally committed to play Division I volleyball at Georgetown University on Oct. 18. Exactly a month later, Anoa’i officially signed a letter of intent at Archer to attend and play for the university. She is the only 2022 recruit for the team.

Clusters of people, cameras ready to go and the words “Georgetown” and “Vaughan Anoa’i” covered the amphitheater. According to Anoa’i’s co-captain and fellow senior Shaunael Milton, when she looked at Vaughan, on the podium she looked like a different person, entering the first stages of adulthood.

There were such large volumes of people in the amphitheater that many people had to stand on the balcony in order to watch the signing.

Zoe Griffin, athletic leadership council member, along with Kim Smith, director of athletics, hosted a Q&A with Vaughan Anoa’i, Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i, Vaughan’s mother, and Reno Anoa’i, Vaughan’s father.

Vaughan Anoa’i started playing volleyball in seventh grade.

“This is a very funny story,” Anoa’i said. “So, the first time that I started playing volleyball, I didn’t know I was going to be playing volleyball. I was in seventh grade. That’s when I first started playing club, and my mom told me I just was going to a regular camp or clinic just for beginners for basics. And then I get there, and I see that everyone has numbers on their shirts. I realized that I was going to try out. That was the start of my volleyball career. It’s very surreal to be here now – I never thought that that’s how it would start, and now, I’m here signing this letter of intent to play at Georgetown.”

Vaughan Anoai’s position, since seventh grade, has been middle blocker slash middle hitter.

“That position in some ways can be compared to the center in basketball. The goal is to block or at least get your hands on all of the opposing team when they are hitting the ball,” Anoa’i said. “I’ve always played middle for Archer specifically and I really like it. I am an extremely competitive person and being in the front row, I love being so close to the action. Also, [being in the] middle comes an offensive threat. So that is the position and I absolutely love it.”

Aside from the position, Vaughan Anoa’i also loves the competitive aspects of volleyball.

“I love the rush of adrenaline that I get every single time that I play. And I think just extending beyond volleyball, the sport has taught me so many things,” Anoa’i said. “As all of you know, I am a total perfectionist in everything that I do, but volleyball is truly a game with mistakes. The competitiveness and the dynamic aspect is amazing. Also, the teamwork aspect because it is very much a team sport. You cannot play by yourself. You need those five other players who are an integral part of the sport. Once I became a freshman and completed my first season of varsity volleyball here at Archer, I absolutely, believe it or not, fell in love with the double-day practices. I loved playing so many games, traveling, watching films and all the responsibilities that weren’t so much a part of the middle school team but were super important for high school. Through this, I recognized that this was something I wanted to do after high school.”

She then provided advice to fellow Archer and non-Archer athletes.

“Something that I think has always kept me going – and I’ve said this quote in many Oracle meetings – is that if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. I think that has been my driving force for a very long time,” Anoa’i said. “Going to a school that does not have a gym but still wants to compete at a Division I college, I think that certainly put a chip on my shoulder to go into other schools and to their nice facilities and their nice gyms and to beat them. Don’t let anything stand in the way of what you want. The quote is true, if there is a will, there is a way.”

According to Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i, she could feel nothing but pride for Vaughan and how far she has come.

“I am amazed each and every day that I did that, with my husband obviously,” Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i said. “She absolutely astonished me every single second. Beyond what she does on the court, beyond what she does in the classroom, it’s really, more than anything a parent wants to hear, is that your daughter is kind. Vaughan has a kind heart and soul. She makes me feel like we did a good job.”