Whitman-Hanson Regional High School senior Halle Julian has committed to play volleyball at Eastern Nazarene College.
“For a while I was down to the top four and within the past two months I made it down to the top two decisions and it was very difficult for me to finally choose one,” Julian said. “But, over April break I went back to both of them and at Eastern Nazarene I met most of the girls on the team and just the way everyone interacted with each other, it felt like such a close community that I really wanted to be a part of. Just being there, it felt like the right fit for me.”
Julian was a three-year starter at middle hitter for the Panthers. Julian, who first began playing competitive volleyball her freshman season, is the school’s all-time leader in blocks (316) on record. During her junior campaign, she led the state in blocks with 124, helping to lead W-H to its second straight tournament appearance.
“[Eastern Nazarene] is getting the whole package,” first-year W-H girls’ volleyball head coach Ashley Balbian said. “They’re getting an energetic player, someone who’s really passionate about sports. It seems like she lives, breathes and eats volleyball.”
This past season, in what was her third on varsity, Julian assumed the role of co-captain, leading her team in a variety of community service projects.
“She puts it all into everything she does, as far as academics and school,” Balbian explained. “She’s the one going the extra mile, organizing the T-shirts, bringing the snacks or whatever it might be. She’s the full package.”
In her role as co-captain, Julian served as a mentor to the younger players in the program and would often take the time during practice to lead the junior varsity and freshman teams in a specific drill.
“I love working with the younger girls, it’s so interesting to see how willing they are to learn and open to trying new things,” Julian said. “I really think that helped me develop as a leader, especially seeing the girls before me do it, and I want to be like them, and it’s always been great.”
Julian’s work with the younger players shined during the Panthers’ final contest of the season, a 3-1 win over Bridgewater-Raynham.
“In that game specifically, I remember the first set I played mostly seniors and starters,” Balbian explained. “And then the second set, I put in a lot of those girls that she had been working with, a lot of the girls who had come up from JV. So, to be able to see the seniors and the really experienced varsity players start off the game and then to have those other girls kind of step into their shoes, and still win, was great to see. It was like seeing them kind of pass the torch on.”
Julian said her fondest memory on the court at W-H came during her sophomore campaign, when the program qualified for the postseason for the first time in recent memory.
“[Making the tournament] was the first time I realized how important [volleyball] is to everybody else and how important this is to me,” she said. “It was just incredible to see how everyone else reacted. It just helped me learn how to make a difference.”
Eastern Nazarene, which competes in the Commonwealth Coast Conference of NCAA Division III, finished 11-19 last season.
“Right now, I’m on an elite team and we have the championships coming up for the whole thing and I think it would be really great if we can finish really well in that,” Julian said.