Profiles: Georgiafandis maps out future in volleyball, business


Ed Dudrick

Senior Eleni Georgiafandis sets up a teammate in win over Lenoir City on Tuesday.

It all started with a kick ball.

When Anthony Georgiafandis came home from middle school one day and asked his younger sister Eleni to volley a kick ball back and forth in their driveway, he didn’t know that he was onto something.

Eleni – now a senior at Bearden – loved this new activity with her big brother, and she kept at it. Roughly six years later, she verbally committed to play volleyball at the University of Louisville.

“The ball was bouncing all over the place,” Georgiafandis said, “but we played a couple days after that. I was trying to find a sport that I would want to play through middle school and high school, and I chose volleyball.”

And she stuck with it. Georgiafandis played on her middle school’s team in seventh and eighth grade and has played on Bearden’s varsity team for the past three seasons while also playing on Knoxville’s K-2 travel team. She has also played for the USA High Performance national team for two years in a row.

It was her coach on the USA national team Anne Kordes – who also happens to be the head coach for Louisville women’s volleyball team – that sparked Georgiafandis’s interest in being a Cardinal. In January of her junior year, she committed to play for Kordes in college.

“[Coach Kordes] and I hit it off right off the bat,” Georgiafandis said. “She’s super enthusiastic and full of incredible energy that makes the gym a fantastic environment.”

Along with the dorms and athletic facilities, she was also fascinated by the university’s top notch business school, as she plans on majoring in marketing. Her ultimate goal is to become the first ever woman athletics director at Ohio State University because her family is from Ohio and have always been die hard Buckeye fans.

But for the time being, her loyalty has shifted to Louisville.

“I truly cannot think of a more perfect school for me,” Georgiafandis said.

Georgiafandis has been a huge asset to the Bulldogs since her freshman year, starting on varsity since then. She missed all of last season with an ACL injury, but has come back ready for this season.

“I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to come back and represent Bearden one last time, and I wouldn’t want to do it with any other girls,” Georgiafandis said. “They’re all great to be around, on and off the court.”

Georgiafandis brings a set of leadership skills to her team, such as communicating on the court and keeping a positive attitude about the team, as well as keeping everyone focused on the task at hand. There are, however, many other girls on the front and back rows stepping up on the court, like senior Rachael Horn, who is the only other senior on the team.

“Everything is a team effort,” Georgiafandis said. “Everyone brings their own qualities that make the team really special.”

Added Horn: “Being one of the only two seniors on the team has made me have to step up and take more responsibility for the team…It has proven to be a tough job, but a gratifying one at that.”

The Lady Bulldogs are hoping to repeat their run to the state tournament, having lost only to CAK twice and Farragut once this season. Georgiafandis says that she never counts the wins, only the losses.

Bearden prepares to face Farragut and HVA on Thursday at Farragut, and that’s all Georgiafandis is thinking about right now.

“I’ll worry about October on October 1,” she said, “but if I had to say, I see some victories in our future.”