Trinity Ward always knew she wanted to play volleyball at Kentucky

Published 4:12 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2023

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It’s not a stretch to say that Trinity Ward was destined to play volleyball at the University of Kentucky.

The Louisville Holy Cross junior recently verbally committed to UK coach Craig Skinner.

“I know it will be a long two years before I can play there. I want to enjoy my next two years of high school, but I can’t wait to get down there and start going after it,” Ward, 16, said. “It’s always been my dream to play at Kentucky, and I just knew there was no use waiting any longer to make my college choice.”

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Her grandparents have season tickets to football, basketball and volleyball at Kentucky.

“I have always been around UK games with my grandma and grandpa,” Ward said. “I have been a Kentucky fan my whole life, and that certainly did influence Kentucky being my choice because I love Kentucky. I looked at other schools, but it was always UK for me since I was a little child.”

However, she had plenty of other UK connections.

— She took lessons from Jackie Napper, the 2014 Southeastern Conference Libero of the Year at Kentucky her senior season. The Louisville native was the second person Ward, who is also a libero, took lessons from and Napper posted a video of Ward at age 8 telling UK coach Craig Skinner she should be his next recruit. When Ward committed, Napper reposted the video.

— When she was in grade school just framed a picture of her jump serving and also one of four-time UK All-American Leah Edmond, who was also a two-time SEC player of the year, jump serving. Edmond eventually autographed the photo for her.

— Ward has known McKenzie Watson, another UK libero from Louisville who was on two SEC championship teams, since she was little because Watson’s mother worked where Ward got her hair cut.

— She went to UK volleyball camps and even though she was not old enough to stay in the dorms, she got to be around Kentucky players and coach Craig Skinner. “I think that was in 2018 or 2019 and I knew then I was going to Kentucky. Craig and I just always got along really well,” she said.

Ward started playing softball at age four and went to the World Series in Jacksonville with a team from Germantown when she was about 12. However, her older sister played volleyball and influenced her to try that sport at age 8. She also ran cross country and track.

“Eventually, I had to pick one sport because I was traveling from state to state trying to play volleyball and softball,” the Holy Cross junior said.

She describes herself as an energetic, resilient player who never gives up or stops encouraging her teammates — all traits that Skinner values at UK.

“I love to win and will do anything to win,” she said. “I love to be around people. I am very social. Whenever I am playing, I always think of it as a team sport and there is no I in team. Everyone is included in some type of role on a team.

“I am super big on team culture. I love to hang out with teammates on and off the court. Those teammates drove me to love volleyball and I can’t wait to be part of the great program at Kentucky.”