HEBRON – Of course, Sarah Veilleux played soccer growing up in Bolton. And softball. That's what all little kids play.
But softball was boring.
"I would draw things in the dirt with my feet," Veilleux said last week. "And pick the grass. I was a shortstop or third baseman, but I could just never get into it."
She stuck a little longer with soccer, through fourth grade.
"I messed up my knee in fourth grade playing soccer," she said. "I had some cartilage in my knee that was pulling away from my bone. That was the end of soccer. Then it was basketball from sixth grade on."
It was all basketball after that. So much, she said, that her dad worried she would get burned out. So he suggested she play volleyball once she entered RHAM High School in the fall of her freshman year, just to mix it up a little.
Veilleux, who only played volleyball three months out of the year every year, ended up being part of two RHAM state championships and being named the Courant's Volleyball Player of the Year as a senior. The other nine months, she played basketball and was named the Courant's Basketball Player of the Year her senior year.
As a two-time Player of the Year in different sports, Veilleux is the Courant's Female Athlete of the Year.
"She had never played volleyball; she was a basketball kid," said her coach in both sports, Tim Guernsey. "We threw her into the fire and we won the state title her freshman year. Basketball was her sport, but she ended up winning two titles in volleyball."
Veilleux, who will play basketball at St. Joseph's in Philadelphia, left RHAM as its leading scorer (2,079 points), male or female. She was the leading scorer in the state (34.1 ppg) this past season. She helped her team to the CIAC Class L semifinal game as a junior, where she scored 19 of her 27 points in the fourth quarter in a 61-52 loss to Farmington, the eventual state champion. She was the state's Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior and a Parade All-American as a senior.
In volleyball, Veilleux was named the CHSCA Player of the Year in 2013, the Class L championship game MVP and the state Gatorade Player of the Year. She holds school records for games played (323), kills (1,271), digs (878) and points scored (1,455.5).
She would have liked to play both in college but she said the schools she was interested in did not want her to play both.
"I got looks from colleges to play volleyball," Veilleux said. "But basketball's always been … I've played forever. Volleyball, you're so confined to that 30x30 square. I like to be able to run and move around.
"My dad really wanted me to play volleyball. He liked the sport, he liked watching it. I did look into it and trying to play both, but the seasons overlap. That was the issue with college."
So Veilleux stuck with her first love. But volleyball, in which her teams won the Class M title her freshman year and the Class L title her senior year, will always have a special place in her heart.
"I love volleyball," she said. "That was the best. I always looked forward to going back to school for volleyball. It's going to be hard to not have it."
A National Honor Society member, Veilleux had narrowed her college choices down to Princeton, the Naval Academy, St. Joseph's and Fordham. St. Joseph's and Fordham were appealing because of scholarship offers, which Princeton didn't have. The Naval Academy was a bit overwhelming. As an only child, she didn't want to go too far from home. St. Joseph's was her eventual choice.
She plans to major in finance but after spending a season coaching an eighth-grade AAU team and enjoying the experience, she is now thinking about becoming a coach.
"I loved it," she said. "I'm sad it's over. It didn't feel like work at all.
"I'm very fortunate. I had a great high school coach for four years, and I had a fantastic AAU coach."