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Argyle junior Sophie Betzhold (11) and freshman Mariah Hesselgesser (10, right) jump up to block a tip from Melissa senior Gill Gray (7) at Aubrey High School in 2016.

Argyle’s Mariah Hesselgesser won’t have to look far to find a familiar face in Jonesboro, Arkansas, next year.

The Lady Eagles’ middle blocker announced her commitment to Arkansas State on Sunday night, joining forces with Argyle’s setter, Kassidy Reeves, who pledged in April.

“I’ve played with Kassidy ever since I was in seventh grade,” Hesselgesser said. “That was super exciting to know she was going there as well. Kassidy and I have had a really great connection together. If I was to go to college with anybody, it would 100% be Kassidy.”

Hesselgesser and Reeves helped Argyle reach the third round of the playoffs in 2018 before falling to Glen Rose in five sets. In 2017, the pair led the Lady Eagles on a run to the 4A semifinal, losing to eventual state champion Needville.

Argyle coach Megan DeGroot said the two committing to the same school will be beneficial for them in college, as well as during the Lady Eagles’ upcoming season.

“Being able to play with her setter all four years, it will make it that much more comfortable for the both of them,” DeGroot said. “Both of them together are going to push each other more than I think they even realize.

“I’m extremely excited that these two have committed. It’s one less thing they have to worry about. They can focus on our season and not be stressing so much about ‘I have to sign here or I have to sign there.’”

DeGroot added that Hesselgesser has expanded her game since she took over as head coach in 2017.

“We’ve worked with her to become a versatile player and someone I can move around,” DeGroot said. “She’s the type of player that can be used in any position, defensive or offensively. Over the years, she’s gotten far more versatile.

“I’m extremely proud of Mariah, but also in the same sense, I’m not surprised. I knew the minute I got to Argyle that she was going places and she would doing big things for us in high school, as well as whoever she chose to play for in college. I know whenever she gets to Arkansas State that she will take it to another level.”

Hesselgesser was the District 8-4A Blocker of the Year as a junior a season ago, turning away 123 shots.

The 6-1 middle also earned Blocker of the Year honors on the Denton Record-Chronicle’s 2018 all-area team, burying 341 kills.

“I love volleyball,” Hesselgesser said. “I have always dreamed of getting to play at the college level. When I got the opportunity to play at Arkansas State, it was big for me.”

Hesselgesser was also looking at Belmont University before ultimately choosing Arkansas State. The Red Wolves went 19-14 overall and 9-7 in the Sun Belt in 2018.

With her college commitment out of the way, Hesselgesser’s attention now shifts to bringing home a championship to Argyle.

The Lady Eagles’ last title came in 2015, and with a slew of upperclassman on the roster, Hesselgesser is ready to make one final playoff run.

“Two silvers does not make a gold,” Hesselgesser said. “I would love to win state my senior year.

“We have seven seniors, so I’m really hoping we can pull that through.”

REECE WADDELL can be reached at 940-566-6869 or via Twitter at @ReeceWaddell15.

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