ONE MORE HONOR: Cranberry Senior Ayanna Ferringer Caps Standout Volleyball Career With All-State Selection

| December 7, 2023

VENUS, Pa. (EYT/D9) — It wasn’t all that long ago when Ayanna Ferringer’s first thought about volleyball was that of disdain.

She hated the sport.

It was tedium to Ferringer, who was just about to hit high school at Cranberry Area. The only reason she even entertained the thought of playing was because her mother, Monica, was a star during her days with the Berries and then at Clarion University, and her older sister, Ava, was also a standout.

But the more she played, the more Ayanna Ferringer grew to enjoy volleyball. With each kill, dig, and block, her love for it blossomed. Soon, all that loathing of volleyball melted away.

And she became quite good at it herself.

It became her passion.

(Pictured above, Ayanna Ferringer)

Now Ferringer will go down as one of the best to ever play volleyball for Cranberry, finishing her career with 821 kills, 267 digs, and 186 blocks.

The Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference MVP received another postseason honor on Tuesday when she landed on the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association Class 2A all-state team.

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“My coach (Jennifer Stover) texted me last night and told me,” Ferringer said. “It’s just a pretty cool, neat experience to be honored that way. Just to see all the hard work that I’ve put into the sport is paying off. It feels good to be recognized.”

Stover said Ferringer was a natural and rare athlete. But what made her great was her work ethic.

“She’s competitive and serious with a desire to learn,” Stover said. “She hit her 500-kill mark the third game of the season and just three-and-a-half weeks later, the 750 mark. Ayanna had some of her biggest nights against tough competition such as Clarion-Limestone — pulling double digits in kills, digs, and blocks. There’s no doubt she is going to be greatly missed and was very deserving of being named all-state.

Once Ferringer fully committed to volleyball, her skills have improved with each season.

Predominantly a middle hitter, the 5-foot-10 Ferringer piled up the kills at a position that isn’t traditionally an attacking one.

But Ferringer’s blend of jumping ability, powerful swing, tenacity, and smarts made her a lethal weapon at the net for the Berries.

Through it all, milestones and accolades weren’t forefront in her mind. Winning was.

“I really wasn’t counting them in my head. I was just thinking, ‘What can I do to win games this season and just be the best player I can be?’” Ferringer said. “It was definitely neat to pass 500 career kills. I kind of expected it, but at the same time, it wasn’t my main focus. It was definitely great to get it.”

“To see where I am today, it’s definitely very surprising, but rewarding. When I was younger, volleyball wasn’t always my main focus.”

Other sports, like basketball, were.

Ferringer has since done a complete 180. She decided not to play basketball during her senior season to instead focus on volleyball.

“It was a tough decision — I really like basketball — but I think volleyball is more of my passion,” Ferringer said. “I have track season coming up, too, so I need to get in the weight room and prepare for that as well.”

Ferringer’s goal now is to play in college. But it’s not her prime goal.

That would be her education. She plans on becoming either a teacher or an occupational therapist.

There is a long line of educators — like volleyball players — in the Ferringer family.

Ferringer is still undecided about her career path, but she said that will determine where — or even if — she plays volleyball in college.

“For me, it’s been stressful just because I want to make sure education is my number one priority,” Ferringer said of the recruiting process. “Right now I’m between becoming a teacher or an occupational therapist, so I want to find a school that has the right program for me and then make my sports decision from there. Right now, I’m putting sports more on the back burner, just so I can focus on what I want to major in.

“I’ve applied to Grove City and a bunch of other places have reached out, so I think it’s a matter of deciding education first and then seeing where volleyball falls.”

Ferringer put herself in a position to have so many options thanks to a stellar senior season in which she was an almost unstoppable force at the net between the middle and outside hitter.

She had several matches in which she notched more than 20 kills and helped Cranberry again reach the District 9 Class 2A playoffs.

Ferringer finished her senior campaign with 365 kills, 186 digs and 89 blocks. She served 97% with 33 aces.

The seeds of that season were planted during the summer. Ferringer spent a lot of time working on her game and working on getting stronger.

“I just worked out a lot more over the summer. My sister helped me a lot,” Ferringer said. “I worked with some girls with some other teams and we would just play together a lot, which was helpful. And I think I just built my game by practicing more and working that way.”

Ferringer also overcame a scare. She landed awkwardly on the foot of a teammate during a summer league match and tore several ligaments in her left ankle. She initially feared the worst, but was able to get healthy for the season.

There was no way she was going to miss any of her senior year.

It was far too important to her and something she will remember for a lifetime.

“Just the team and the atmosphere,” she said. “It’s always fun when the student section comes out and has a great environment for us. Just building character as a person. You learn so many life lessons about working hard and it’s rewarding.”

Cranberry Area High School sports coverage on Explore and D9Sports.com is brought to you by Redbank Chevrolet and DuBrook.
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