BRADENTON -- When it came to choosing a collegiate volleyball program, Jacqui Armer didn't have to look far for some advice.
A rising junior and middle blocker at Manatee High, Armer watcher her older sister, Kayla, go through the process before choosing Division I Houston Baptist in 2013.
Jacqui went the Division I route, too, when she committed to LSU on Tuesday.
"We learned a lot from that process," Jacqui Armer said. "We got a lot of advice from that process. ... My goal was to commit early. In the volleyball world, that's usually what happens."
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So she chose the Tigers after also considering Tennessee, N.C. State and Ohio State.
"It was far enough away from home, but not too far," she said. "It's a completely new experience. And I loved the coaches, and I loved the girls."
A Herald All-Area pick last year, Armer averaged two kills and one block per set for the Hurricanes in helping them win the Class 8A-District 8 championship. She had six blocks in the championship match against Palm Harbor University, the top seed in the four-team district.
Armer and fellow rising junior Haley Coulter, who missed most of last season with an ankle injury, give Manatee one of the area's most powerful 1-2 punches.
LSU went 19-13 last season and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009. Their 2013 signing class was ranked 13th-best in the nation by prepvolleyball.com.
Another Manatee volleyball alum, Courtney McDonald, chose the SEC when she began her career at Auburn in 2009.
"It's going to be nice to focus on playing and not to worry about who or where I'm going to play for (in college)," Armer said. "I just knew it was the best thing to do from the beginning."