Sports

WRCA's Barker inks volleyball scholarship

White Rock Christian Academy’s Carly Barker will play college volleyball next year in the NAIA. - Nick Greenizan photo
White Rock Christian Academy’s Carly Barker will play college volleyball next year in the NAIA.
— image credit: Nick Greenizan photo

On Thursday, when White Rock Christian Academy’s Carly Barker officially signed a letter of intent to play volleyball next season at Warner Pacific, the only people happier than her were likely her parents.

And that’s not just because Tim and Nancy Barker were proud of their daughter – though they certainly are – but because they’ll soon be able to visit two of their children on one trip. The Barkers’ oldest child, Riley, just finished his first year studying and playing basketball at the University of Portland, which is just 20 minutes from Warner Pacific, a small college that plays in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). A third Barker, 16-year-old Corey, attends WRCA.

“That’s a big reason why I picked Warner – because Portland is where my brother plays,” Carly said Wednesday at WRCA, where she’s wrapping up her senior year.

“I really liked the fact that it was a small school, a small community, and the team seems really great.”

During a visit to the school, her soon-to-be teammates also helped convince her to sign with Warner by using a slightly unorthodox recruitment method – they bought her doughnuts.

“Voodoo Donuts is a really famous doughnut shop downtown – people line up around the block for them – and they brought me there,” Carly laughed.

Though Barker, a five-foot-11 left-hander who plays right-side on the volleyball court, toyed with the idea of staying north of the border, she narrowed her focus quickly.

“Once I found the school, I really didn’t look up here much,” said Carly, who verbally committed to the Warner Pacific Knights in February and plans to study psychology.

“It’s nice to be able to be in Portland, with Riley. We’re very close – he’s one of my best friends, and he’s really happy I’m coming.”

Riley’s basketball season and Carly’s volleyball schedules don’t overlap, either, giving the siblings plenty of opportunities to cheer each other on.

“I know the city pretty well – and I already know how to get from my school to his,” Carly said.

Signing her letter of intent is the capper on an impressive volleyball career at WRCA, where she’s played on the senior squad the last three seasons.

“Carly’s really been the backbone of our team. We really rely on her to score points for us, and she’s going to be hard to replace,” said WRCA coach Kelli Niemi.

This year, Barker led her team to a fifth-place showing at provincials – she was named a second-team all-star – while also helping WRCA capture its first Fraser Valley volleyball banner in seven years. She was named MVP of the Valley tournament.

“That one was very exciting for us,” she said.

“We hadn’t had a new banner up there for a while – and there’s enough basketball ones – so we needed some new volleyball ones to hang up there.”

 

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