Samantha Droop says she became seriously interested in tennis when she was only about 10 years old.
"They'd ask you what you wanted to do and I'd say I wanted to be a tennis player," Droop recalled.
Her goals became much clearer, however, several years later as she saw players close to her heading off to play at colleges across the country. Naturally, Droop set out to do something similar.
"I said my goal is to play Division 1 tennis," she said. "That was the goal I set for myself, and I'm happy to say I accomplished that goal."
Droop has accepted an offer of appointment to attend the Naval Academy, where she'll play tennis for fourth-year head coach Keith Puryear. She'll report to Annapolis, Md., on June 28 for eight weeks of induction for becoming a Midshipman and serving in the United States Navy.
"I love the idea of team, integrity and honor," Droop said of why she chose Navy. "I really see it for my future. It's just where I want to be."
Droop -- who says she "fell in love" with Annapolis after two visits -- moved down to Hilton Head Island from Connecticut several years ago after her father, Ron Droop, accepted a job in Savannah.
"When we hear about Hilton Head all we hear about is tennis," she said. "It just kind of snowballed from there."
Droop was a member of the Hilton Head Island High School tennis team as a middle schooler and helped the Seahawks claim a state championship in 2007. She then opted to begin online schooling in order to focus more on the sport, as she started to train under the watchful eyes of those at Van Der Meer Tennis Academy.
Name: Samantha Droop
School: Palmetto State E-cademy
Coaches: Van Der Meer Tennis Academy
College: Naval Academy
Probable major: Computer Engineering
About Navy: Keith Puryear is in his fourth season as the Midshipmen's coach. Navy is in its second year of competing at the NCAA Divison I level in tennis. The Midshipmen are in the Patriot League.
Why Navy? "I really felt like it fits my personality. When I visited, I felt like it was where I was really supposed to be. I love idea of team, integriy and honor."
Other schools considered: Louisiana Lafayette, Coastal Carolina
Accolades: State championship at Hilton Head High (2007); Attented Super Nationals in Phoenix and Memphis, Tenn. (2011); Career-best rankings: No. 4 (S.C.), No. 60 (Southern) and No. 150 (National).