CCLP/DAVID MORRIS - Copperas Cove head coach Cari Lowery talks about the career of Brianna Acker, left, during National Signing Day festivities Wednesday in the high school gym.

Acker, Boyd sign with Division I schools to highlight Cove’s signing day festivities

Cove Leader-Press
Three Lady Dawgs participated in a signing ceremony Wednesday at Copperas Cove High School to commemorate their signing National Letters of Intent to play their respective sports in college. Signing were Brianna Acker (Abilene Christian University-volleyball), Amber Boyd (University of Texas at San Antonio-track and cross country) and Katie Nelson (Clarendon College-softball).
Acker had limited opportunities to get on the court last year, but as a senior, she took full advantage of the wealth of knowledge from head volleyball coach Cari Lowery and her staff and put in the work and it paid off big time.
The senior outside hitter signed a national Letter of Intent to play volleyball for Division I Abilene Christian University.
“I’m super excited,” said Acker. I’ve wanted this since I started playing volleyball. Now that I’m at that point it is just awesome.
“(Coach Lowery) has not only been my coach but she’s taught me life lessons I’ll be able to carry forever. She’s taught me how to, not only be a better player, but a better person. That’s something I can take outside of high school and use in my everyday life.”
Being a part of Lowery’s program and to be a part of her 700th win and legacy meant a lot to Acker as well.
“It’s awesome,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to keep her legacy going as the winningest coach in Central Texas. That’s what she is and that’s what she does. She makes volleyball players. She made me from when I started to now and I just can’t thank her enough.”
Lowery returns that adoration.
“Brianna Acker is a player you want to have the opportunity in your career to coach,” she said. “I have know her for about 12 years now since she’s been coming to volleyball camps, playing in the leagues and all the things we’ve asked. She’s a 4.0 student, a hard worker and she hits the ball harder than almost anybody I’ve ever coached. I love Brianna Acker and I’m going to miss her so much.”
Acker joins fellow Cove alum Lily Drever on the Wildcats.
“Abilene Christian University is getting something when they’re getting Brianna to come play for them,” said Lowery. “I expect huge things. She will be playing with another former Lady Dawg Lily Drever who is a libero there, so I’m expecting big things out of ACU, too.”
Now it is just about preparing for that next level.
“Club season is helping me a lot because I’m getting a lot of touches on the ball,” said Acker. “I just need to keep training, working out and making myself better in all the aspects I already have.”
For senior Amber Boyd, this was the culmination of four years of hard work. Boyd, who signed to run track and cross country for the University of Texas at San Antonio back in November, was thrilled to get to the next level and celebrate with her teammates on National Signing Day.
“It feels wonderful,” she said. “All of my hard work that I’ve put in pays off and it just feels great. I’ve worked very hard. I would go from cross country practice in the mornings to track practice at night so I could train even more to get faster.”
The four-year varsity runner got better each and every year where she slayed some long-standings school records in track and made regionals each of her four years in cross-country.
Boyd currently holds two school racords and, with track season still ahead, head track coach Vance McAnally thinks there’s at least one more record for her to set.
“She’s the owner of the 800-meter record at Copperas Cove High School, the 1,600-meter record and soon; the mile relay,” he said.
McAnally acknowledged that Boyd is getting an opportunity to compete amongst the best at the Division I school, but thinks UTSA is getting the better end of the deal.
“You can’t get a better athlete, student or person,” he said. “She’s like ice cream. Everybody likes ice cream and everyone likes Amber. Nobody works harder. I am super excited for her.”
Boyd, on top of chasing down another school record, will use her final season as a runner for Cove to help her prepare for the transition.
“I’m still trying to work on my running form and not push my legs but I’ve been training with my coach a little earlier than I’ve done before in track season,” she said.
Last but not least, senior Katie Nelson signed to play softball for Clarendon College in Clarendon.
Nelson will remain a Bulldawg with a slightly different spelling as a member of the Lady Bulldogs.
“It means a lot to me,” she said of the opportunity. “It’s an honor to be able to continue my softball career and education at the collegiate level. I worked hard to get to where I’m going and I’m very proud of myself and I’m very thankful to all the people that helped me get here.”
Nelson was drawn to Clarendon by the team’s bond, the program’s growth and the nursing program.
“The coaches were very nice and welcoming,” she said. “They were very up front and honest about everything they had to offer. It’s not a big fancy school but they have built up the program over the last few years and they have a very competitive program. The girls promote a nice sisterhood and that’s what really got me. It was a true team and I like being a part of something like that. They also have a nice nursing program, which is what I’m going for.”
Clarendon likes what she brings to the table as well.
“They like that I’m coachable and they like the style I have in the middle infield,” she said. “They also like my attitude. They recognize I have a good attitude and leadership.”
Like Boyd, Nelson gets one last chance to prove herself and contribute to a budding program as she began her senior season as a member of the Lady Dawgs just last week. She wants to make an impact in her final year.
“(I want to) set an example for the younger girls here,” she said. “They have a lot to work with in coach Waller. He’s trying to build up the program. 
“For myself, I want to work a little more on my hitting to get up to that collegiate level where it’s a little bit tougher. I also want to just enjoy the experience.”
The season officially kicks off at the Lexington tournament Feb. 16-18
Copperas Cove ISD deputy superintendent Rick Kirkpatrick reminded the three signees of what’s really important.
“It’s a fitting end to your high school career to be signing to go do something you love at the next level,” he said. “Just remember this, education comes first. You have to get that education because when the playing is over, the real work starts and you have to go make a living.”

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