Kennedy Llewellyn and Avaya Maga Commit to NCAA

Kennedy Llewellyn and Avaya Maga Commit to NCAA Division 1 Volleyball Programs
Posted on 04/14/2024

By Larry Moko

They’re Titans who have committed to play big-time university volleyball in the United States.
Star players Kennedy Llewellyn and Avaya Maga of the Bishop Tonnos Titans will be accepting NCAA Division 1 scholarship offers from the University of Texas at El Paso and the University of Oklahoma, respectively.

Maga, a setter, will return for one more year at Tonnos while Llewellyn, an outside hitter is scheduled to join the UTEP Miners beach volleyball program this summer.

Both were at Mohawk College Wednesday night as members of the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic senior girls’ high school all-star volleyball team that defeated the Hamilton Public board’s entry, 4-0. Set scores were 25-13, 25-21, 25-15, 27-25.

“This is my first all-star game,” said Llewellyn. “It’s very cool.”

Llewellyn follows in the post-secondary footsteps of another Tonnos graduate, Abby Smith, who is currently a freshman beach volleyballer at Stetson University in DeLand, Fla.

“I was weighing a bunch of different offers from schools in Florida,” Llewellyn said.

“But I kind of visited (UTEP) at the last minute. I’ll get an opportunity to play my first year. That’s why I chose it.

“The girls are great, the coaches are great, and the facility is awesome.”

Llewellyn gravitated to the beach game early, but started taking it more seriously in the same summer that she played both Team Ontario indoor volleyball and Team Ontario beach volleyball. That gave her a chance to compare both high performance programs.

“I would say my strength is my ability to communicate with my partner,” she said. “That’s a big thing in this game. It’s just not how hard you can hit. It’s how smart you can be.”

With the Titans, Maga and Llewellyn have advanced to three consecutive Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic high school city championships. They won the last two, before capturing OFSAA gold in 2023 and silver this season.

The two played rep together at the Mountain Volleyball Club from 12U to 15U before becoming teammates at Tonnos.

 “I was their U12 coach,” Tonnos coach Alvisia Maga said. “We knew right from the start that they were a little different from the rest. They’ve wanted to push themselves to be a next-level player.”

Maga’s daughter, Avaya, who won a national championship with the Halton Hurricanes, says she initially got noticed by the Oklahoma Sooners at the OVA provincial championships in Toronto.

“They were there watching,” Avaya said. “I really chose them because of their coaches, the culture and what they are trying to build there. I could really see myself fitting into the campus. The girls on the team were great, too.

“I’ve always wanted to go the States. That was like my big dream.”

Maga, who trained in B.C. with the national program earlier this season, says Sports Business will be her field of study.

“I’ll be trying to get into the NCAA tournament and grow my game every day. I love the sport and want to play as long as possible.”

Although Maga and Llewellyn will be based in neighbouring states, they’ll still have about a 10-hour drive between the two schools.

“We’ve always had a good connection and friendship because we’ve played together for so long,” Avaya said. “When we were growing up, we were in a couple of fun beach tournaments together.”

In their senior all-star game victory, the Catholic squad’s MVP selection was Raquel Lalli of the St. Thomas More Knights.

Other players on the Catholic roster included Maryn Petrie (Tonnos), Sophie Clarke and Audrey Evans (More), Jessica Schmid, Chloe Golba and Kayleigh Nicholls (Bishop Ryan), Sydney Bouchard and Jaidyn Rattray (Brebeuf), Marcela Dycha and Myah Montesano (Newman), Nyah Gingras (ACMT), Tearle Ravino (Cathedral) and Caroline Stayshyn (St. Mary).

Photos by Bob Butrym, RFB Sport Photography
More photos on the HWCDSB Athletics Facebook page here