The Student Voice of Coastal Carolina University



Student-athlete spotlights

Ellie Hanford, junior beach volleyball player 


Ellie Hanford didn’t start playing beach volleyball competitively until her junior year of high school but has since shown that she is more than capable of competing at the college level.


Photo provided by Ellie Hanford.

Hanford, senior computer science and cyber security major at Coastal Carolina University, was raised in New Bern, North Carolina and has always had a passion for sports. She played soccer for 12 years, lacrosse for six, and indoor volleyball before moving from the court to the sand.  


At first, beach volleyball was just a fun hobby for Hanford. Eventually, she enjoyed it more than indoor volleyball and wanted to make the transition.  


Hanford committed to Coastal because of the athletic program and the environment on campus. Like many Coastal students, being close to the beach was also a bonus for her. 


Hanford said her favorite part about CCU is the relationships she has formed with the people around her. 


“My teammates and the people I’ve met and been able to build a network with here, and kind of just have a family away from home,” Hanford said.  


Hanford said her family has been her biggest inspiration. She said they all grew up playing sports and were very competitive, which helped her get to this point. 


“Taking it to this next level, I want to make them proud and show that I’m making it here,” she said. 


Hanford has a record of 7-5 this season alongside her doubles partner Emma Kunaus, with four of those losses coming against schools ranked in the top 25 nationally.  


Anaya Barney, redshirt sophomore guard 


Basketball has been a part of Anaya Barney’s life since she was 2 years old, but she is also focused on enjoying life outside of the gym. 

Photo provided by Anaya Barney.

Barney is a redshirt sophomore who transferred to Coastal Carolina University from the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) and majors in interdisciplinary studies with a focus in business. She grew up just minutes away from UNI in Cedar Falls, Iowa.  


Barney has five siblings who she said are the reason she got interested in playing basketball, because she was always in the gym with her three oldest siblings.  


She said her older sister has always been her biggest inspiration, even initially following her to the same college. 


“My parents both went to UNI, my older sister was at UNI, my oldest brother went to UNI. So, when I chose to go there in the first place, it was just the easy decision,” Barney said. “But then I decided I want to make my own path for myself.” 


It was a culture shock for Barney to move from Iowa to Conway, South Carolina, but she entered the transfer portal with the intention of being her own person. 


Barney said she appreciates the supportive coaching staff at Coastal, specifically allowing her to experience life outside of basketball. 


“They realize that playing basketball is obviously a big part of why I’m here, but I also want to kind of figure out who I am and enjoy life outside of basketball,” she said.  


Barney said her favorite thing to do outside of the gym is go to the beach to clear her head and enjoy the warm weather.  


Barney finished the 2023-24 season playing in 33 games and averaged 2.8 points, 1.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 0.9 steals per game. 


Avery Snyder, senior midfielder 


Avery Snyder has been a consistent presence in the midfield for the Coastal Carolina University women’s lacrosse team for years, continuing for another in the 2024 season. 


Snyder, a senior biology major, grew up in Horseheads, New York before moving to the Myrtle Beach area this past summer.  


Starting off playing softball at a young age, Snyder transitioned into playing lacrosse in the third grade because she had friends who played lacrosse and craved a fast-paced sport.  

Photo provided by Avery Snyder.

Snyder said she was familiar with the Myrtle Beach area from playing lacrosse tournaments in the area while in high school, and that was a big reason that she chose to attend Coastal.  


“For spring break, my high school always took a trip to Myrtle Beach for baseball and lacrosse tournaments,” Snyder said. “So, I always loved the area and we’d always go to Coastal, and I just loved the campus, warmer weather and the beach was just awesome.” 


Snyder started all 16 games that she played in as a sophomore in 2022 and started in all 19 games as a junior in 2023. So far this season, she has started in all five games and credits her teammates and coaches for making her experience at Coastal more fun and enjoyable.  


She said a lot of her former club teammates from high school currently play at high-level colleges. Seeing them do well, Snyder said, is an inspiration to her.  


“They’re always setting records, and it’s just so fun to watch them play on TV and just know that I used to play with them,” she said. “It’s fun to still play against each other.” 

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