Carly Lenhardt had every reason to be angry.

Instead the Mountain Pointe senior was motivated and because of it she is off to college.

As a junior Lenhardt was cut from the Pride girls volleyball team, but she played club and had a great summer before her senior year.

She ended up being a starter for the Pride at libero this past season and now she will be attending Tennessee Wesleyan.

Not a bad turnaround.

"When I tried out my junior I really thought I could make it, but I didn't," she said. "I didn't let it get me down because when you love something so much you never let go of it that easy. I used cross country to stay in shape and I didn't go to any of the volleyball games, which was probably really rude but I had a little bit of bitterness."

She played on the club team affiliated with Mountain Pointe and worked on her game as much as possible.

"Coach (Fred) Mann told me to work on my serve when I got cut because it wasn't up to par," she said. "So that's what I did. I literally died in my heart because I thought the world was going to end. Then I said, ‘No, I am going to prove him wrong.'

"It ended up being an amazing season. I worked my way up to starter."

Lenhardt was actually offered before the high school season, meaning she received a scholarship offer without ever playing the varsity level.

Mann was reticent about his decision to cut Lenhardt, but proud of the end result.

"We had a huge class of juniors and she wasn't one of those top kids," he said. "She worked hard in the offseason. She loved the sport of volleyball and that's what you look for in a kid. She battled back and worked her way into a starting position.

"It's a cool story and a great example of sticking with something you love and having it pay off."

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or jskoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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