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Effingham County's Bevill 'digs' Piedmont College
Sara Bevill
Volleyball standout Sara Bevill receives a hug Friday from her mother, Lisa, after signing a national letter of intent to attend Piedmont College during a ceremony in the Effingham County HIgh School gym. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

 SPRINGFIELD — Sara Bevill’s impact on the Effingham County volleyball program is no secret. Her key career statistic as a Lady Rebel is listed on a large banner that hangs on the gymnasium wall.

It says, “1,000-plus digs,” a total that helped her land an invitation to attend Piedmont College and join its volleyball team.

“Sara has accomplished so much while she has been here at Effingham,” Lady Rebels head coach Brittany Lein said during a Friday signing ceremony in the Effingham County gym lobby. “She has been our region (2-AAAAAA) defensive player of the year for the last two years. She has also been our school’s MVP. Last year as a junior, she was nominated to play in the Georgia (Athletic Coaches Association) all-star game.

“To me, those are just huge accomplishments right here at Effingham.”

And back to the banner the features Bevill’s name.

“To surpass a thousand digs — if you pass a thousand of anything in your four years of your high school career is a huge accomplishment,” Lein said, “so why we are going to greatly miss her here Piedmont is getting an amazing volleyball player, an amazing student, a really amazing friend, an amazing teammate.” 

Bevill’s dig total is a testament to the determination and competitiveness she developed since taking up volleyball when she was in the fifth grade. Credit for digs is given only when an attacked ball is kept in play, meaning Bevill frequently spent as much time diving onto the floor as standing on it during matches.

“I knew instantly that volleyball was going to stick,” said Bevill, who also racked up 1,961 service saves and 199 aces. “I just loved it. I never played any other sport.”

Bevill briefly dabbled in dance and took piano lessons but neither of those skills came close to matching her hunger for volleyball.

A longtime Club Savannah player, Bevill arrived at Effingham County when it featured a team loaded with upperclassmen. Her leadership skills weren't needed then but hat changed during her last two seasons as a Lady Rebel. She was forced to take a more prominent role and constantly applauded and encouraged her teammates regardless of the score.

“That definitely pushed me to better myself,” she said. “Not only did I have to do my part, I had to step up and encourage the younger girls under me because I was once that younger girl. 

“That’s what I wanted when I was younger — to be encouraged by those older girls because that is who I looked up to.”

In 2020, the Lady Rebels got off to a raggedy start, winning only two of their first 15 matches, but recovered and advanced into the second round of the state tournament.

“We just all talked as a team and we knew that we could do better than what we were doing,” she said. “We were a great team when we played together and did our part.”

Bevill said she intends to pursue a nursing degree at Piedmont College. She has already compiled a year’s worth of credits through a dual-enrollment program.