Goldsboro News-Argus Sports Editor

PRINCETON -- When her body tempts her to give up, Savanna Massengill relies on her faith to keep going.

It's her strongest personal asset — a belief that takes her on a new journey and in a different direction each day.

Tuesday morning was no exception for the Princeton High senior, who signed to play volleyball next fall at Lenoir Community College. It was the logical choice for the three-sport star athlete who loves the life a small community-oriented school — just like PHS — has to offer.

"From the beginning, I wanted to start small and not go too far because I'm sort of a 'home' person," Massengill said. "When I met the coaches, I knew I would learn a lot from them and they would push me to reach my best potential. They're Christian people and that's one of the most important things to me, which made me feel like I would be welcomed.

"Once I fell in love with Lenoir, it became hard to get swayed by other schools."

Massengill's faith has never swayed.

It's been a constant, driving force throughout her four-year career on either the volleyball/basketball court or softball diamond. A hypermobile athlete, Massengill suffers from slipping rib syndrome which causes a debilitating pain and forces her to sit for short periods on the bench.

The muscles overwork themselves in her body and cause the ribs to slip out of place. SRS prevents her right lung from properly expanding, but also affects her shoulder mobility and her left hip.

The condition would force many an athlete to stop playing.

Not Massengill, who has continued to excel despite the pain she endures no matter the sport. She logged 296 kills and recorded 100 blocks from her middle position; served 54 aces and posted a remarkable .574 hitting percentage in volleyball last fall.

Princeton won its third consecutive Carolina 1-A Conference regular- season and tournament championship, and reached the east regional final for the second straight year.

"I trust the Lord and I've learned a lot already going through this," Massengill said. "I've relied on Him more and gotten stronger in my faith because of my injury. I just trust that He has a plan for me and will give me the strength to play.

"No matter what, I'm going to do my best."

Second-year LCC head coach Shelly Barnes described Massengill as an all-around athlete who has the tools to succeed on and off the court. 

She can envision Massengill playing either the middle or possibly on the right side. Massengill is part of a 10-member freshman class that includes recruits from Oregon, Illinois, Maryland and Florida.

"She's just a great person ... good grades, good morals — all the things that any school would feel lucky to get so we feel really fortunate to get somebody of Savanna's caliber on our team," said Barnes, who returns just five players off of last year's squad that finished a program-best 11-17 overall.

"We're looking for good people, hard workers and winners. She's come from all of that, which makes it a win for both of us."