Stillman's most valuable Pence
Former Brewer High star named team MVP
Charles Prince, Hartselle Enquirer
The successful investigation and prosecution of crimes require, in some cases, the collection and analysis of forensic evidence.
Danielle Pence, a biology major who wants to pursue a career in forensic science, has collected diverse skills on the volleyball court and analyzed what it takes to play at a high level.
That analysis paid off for Pence, a former Brewer High standout, as she was named team MVP of the Stillman College Lady Tigers during her junior season.
Pence was surprised by the chance to continue her volleyball career after high school.
"I was invited to try out at Bevill State," Pence said. "After the workout, the coach offered me a scholarship. I wasn't expecting that. I didn't know I could play at the college level."
Not only did she play in college, but she also made an immediate impact as a defensive specialist. Pence won the team's Hustle award while helping the Lady Bears to a pair of third-place finishes in the Alabama Community College tournament.
After graduating from Bevill, she chose Stillman over Brevard College in North Carolina and Georgia Southwestern College.
"I decided to stay close to home," Pence said. "My niece Stephanie had just been born and I wanted to be close enough to visit."
Stillman struggled to a 4-18 record this past season. After being a member of winning teams in high school and junior college, losing was hard for Pence.
"It's tough. The losing can wear you down after a while," Pence said. "It breaks you down mentally and it can be depressing. I just hope we win more my senior year."
Pence excels on both offense and defense for Stillman. She led the Lady Tigers with 245 kills as an attacker in addition to recording 213 digs on defense this past season.
"I like attacking at the net," Pence said. "But I like defense, digging the ball back up for my teammates after a hard hit from the other team.
" I like all aspects of the game and I like how they work together."
Pence said the MVP award was an unexpected honor.
"The award was a big surprise," Pence said. "I don't worry about my stats. I didn't know I led the team in two categories until coach told me."
As much as she enjoys playing volleyball, Pence is working hard toward her goal for a secular career.
"I want to work in forensic science some day," Pence said. "I hope to work for the FBI handling crime scenes."
With that goal in mind, Pence keeps up a hectic pace of study and practice.
"I have five classes from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.," Pence said. "We practice at 4:30 p.m. and then we eat dinner at 6:30 p.m. After that, it's study until bedtime."
Pence at one time wanted to be a veterinarian, but the excitement and challenge that forensics presents changed her mind.
"Finding clues and putting all the pieces together is the challenge," Pence said. "That's what amazes me about forensics. It is fascinating work, it's what I hope to do the rest of my life."