Prep volleyball: Tice at home on court
She goes by Captain Tice, a nickname given to her by a friend years before Annie Tice became a team captain of the Juan Diego volleyball team.
It's a name that evokes images of superheroes and super-human strength. It's one that suits Tice well, and not just because she leads her team in kills, digs, and aces per set.
Like many superheroes, Captain Tice has been shaped by her difficult past. Her mother and step father were killed in a kayaking accident on the Jordan River 16 days before she started high school. She considered not trying out for the volleyball team her freshman year but reconsidered.
"[My mom] wouldn't have wanted me to stop my whole life," she said. "I did it for her. She wanted to see me be a volleyball star."
Despite never having played competitive volleyball, Tice made the varsity squad as a freshman and helped lead the Soaring Eagle to the Class 3A title match before falling to Morgan.
It took little time for Tice to develop into a threat on the court. She even earned first-team all-state honors last year.
"[Volleyball] gave me a place where I belonged," Tice said. "It gave me a home. Volleyball is my therapy. You can see it when I play. It's my own little world where I can go away and forget about everything."
Tice, now a senior, has developed into a leader and mentor, someone her younger teammates look to for guidance, direction, and perhaps most importantly, perspective.
That perspective is apparent in the way she plays volleyball. Coach Todd Holzhauser describes Tice as both a competitor and a laid-back California surfer girl, two seemingly incompatible personality types until hearing what Tice has overcome.
Tice dived for digs and hammered kills in her usual competitive way during Tuesday's match against Park City. But Tice joked and laughed with teammates after the match, seemingly unfazed by the disappointing loss. When asked what sets her apart, the self described "goofball" said that she tries to keep a positive attitude, no matter the circumstance.
Tice hasn't made plans for college yet. She has had conversations with several schools about playing volleyball, but for now she's content to enjoy her final year of high school and lead her team by example.
With her playing career at Juan Diego winding down, Captain Tice has embraced and personified her nickname.
"Volleyball has really helped me," she said. "Now I'm a legacy to my mom. I've done something so good, to contribute to a team and to be a good part of something ... part of a community that loves me."
Annie Tice file
Year • Senior
School • Juan Diego
Position • Outside hitter