By Tommy Keeler Jr.
WINCHESTER -- Emily Shannon and Hannah Tierney carefully signed their paperwork, then gave each other a high-five with wide smiles on their faces.
The James Wood seniors signed letters of intent to play collegiate volleyball on Friday in the James Wood library. Shannon signed with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore for a full scholarship. Tierney signed for a 75 percent scholarship with the University of South Carolina Aiken.
As special as the day was, it was even more special for the two friends that they could share the moment.
"Hannah and I have known each other for so long, it's a great feeling to be able to do this together," Shannon said. "I love it."
"It means a lot to me," Tierney said. "We've been together for such a long time and it's nice that we're each going to be playing at the next level."
Shannon said she considered other schools such as Lock Haven, Robert Morris and Bucknell, but she really liked UMES.
She went for a visit in May, and fell in love with the school.
"It just seemed like a perfect fit for me," Shannon said. "I wanted to go to a school near a beach, and it's just 30 minutes from Ocean City. It's a beautiful campus. And I got to meet the team and I really liked them."
The Hawks play in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. They went 19-11 this season and finished 8-2 in the regular season in the MEAC. Shannon had a stellar career at James Wood, and on Monday became the first James Wood player ever to have 1,000 kills in her career.
Shannon said it was always one of her goals to play at the Division I level.
"I used to watch girls play volleyball on TV and think that one day I wanted to play at that level," Shannon said. "To know now that I'll be doing it is just awesome."
Tierney considered playing at UMES as well, along with a few other schools, but decided instead to play at South Carolina Aiken.
"I visited last year -- it was a really nice campus," Tierney said. "I met some of the girls on the team and liked them. I loved the coach. And South Carolina is very warm, which I like."
The Pacers play in the Peach Belt Conference. They finished fourth in the conference this season. Tierney had a great career at James Wood, and was a Northwestern District first-team selection this season.
"It just feels good to have it off my chest and know where I'm going to be going," Tierney said. "I'm really happy. It's been a big goal of mine."
James Wood coach Jill Lester said having the pair sign with colleges is good for them and for her program.
"The two of them are definitely strong leaders," Lester said. "They brought intensity to the team. They are senior captains, who are looked up to by the underclassmen.
"It's quite an accomplishment for them."