Piqua’s Emily Baker signs with IU East


PIQUA — Piqua High School senior Emily Baker is what every volleyball coach is looking for.

Every time she takes the floor for practice or game, she brings a positive attitude — with the intent of helping her teammates any way she can.

So, you can understand why Indiana University East volleyball coach Kim McConaha was so excited to see the daughter of Adam and Molli Baker sign her letter of intent to play volleyball for IU East in the Piqua High School commons Wednesday afternoon.

“We feel like culture is very important,” McConaha said. “And Emily (Baker) brings the right positive culture. She is going to fit right in with our team.”

Baker, an outside and right side hitter, has shown she can handle every challenge in her young volleyball career, whether it be club, at the small school level (Troy Christian) or stepping up to D-I competition this year.

“It is exciting,” Piqua coach Jenni Huelskamp said about Baker’s signing. “It is always good (for the other kids to see). Emily (Baker) is a great kid. She has come in this year to a new school, with all new teammates and has done a great job. I think IU East is a great fit for her.

“Especially because it is close (Richmond, Ind.). She has really strong family support and they will be able to go see her play.”

It was the fulfillment of a long-time goal for Baker.

“I always wanted to play college volleyball,” she said with a big smile. “The second I met the coach and the girls (at IU East), I knew that was where I wanted to go. They were all so great and we got along really well. We just clicked right away.”

Baker began her high school career at Troy Christian and was unstoppable as a hitter from the start.

She accumulated 914 kills in her three seasons with the Eagles, including 426 as a junior.

After transferring to Piqua, she has faced stiffer competition and has been up to the challenge.

“I think so (it will make the transition to college volleyball easier),” Baker said. “Just having new teammates and being in a different environment.”

Coach McConaha agreed.

“Just the academic environment,” she said. “We emphasize academics and I know that is what is important to her. She is a student first and then a volleyball player.”

And McConaha said that will be the easy part.

“Emily (Baker) is very driven and very coachable,” McConaha said. “And we know how to coach volleyball. Emily (Baker) will do just fine (at IU East).”

And Wednesday was a relief for Baker.

“I am just glad to have the decision out of the way,” she said. “It takes a lot of stress off. I guess back in junior high, it was kind of like a dream to play college volleyball.”

Just like Baker is a coach’s dream.

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