The common word nowadays is a “hit” or an “attack” but it was so much more descriptive in the old days of volleyball when they were called “spikes” more often than not.
“Spike” seemed so much more forceful. Any player can “hit” or “attack”. It takes some power to “spike” it, the kind of power that Allie Anderson showed on the front line of the Bryant Lady Hornets over the last three years.
A great leaper at 6’1”, Anderson, the daughter of John and Kristi Anderson, could be downright scary to defenders and liberos on another team. It caught plenty of attention for her and, on Tuesday, she parlayed that attention into a chance to play at the next level, signing to continue her volleyball career and her education at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville.
“I’ve watched her grow and develop into a wonderful young lady and a stellar volleyball player,” said Bryant head coach Beth Solomon at a ceremony held for Anderson and teammates Whitney Brown, Britney Sahlmann and Savannah Shelton Wednesday. “Allie’s always been devoted to volleyball and determined to play after high school. She’s worked hard to get to this day.
“She’s been a front row player for us throughout her time with Bryant volleyball,” the coach continued. “Through her dedication and time commitment, Allie worked to improve her serve and her back-row play to where we were able to use her all the way around this year.”
If there were such records from the history of Bryant volleyball, Anderson may have set records for kills over her three years. As it was, she finished with a 638 in her senior season alone.
With the development of her all-around game, she became a powerful server as well. Her jump serve produced 415 good serves and 87 aces. Defensively, she came up with 28 blocks and 86 digs.
“For anyone that played against Allie, those hits and serves were like bullets coming over the net,” Solomon related. “They were pretty hard to deal with.”
Anderson was named all-conference and all-State after her senior campaign and was picked to play in the annual Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star game in June.
“I will miss the other coaches begging me to give them my No. 6,” Solomon quipped, referring to Anderson. “There’s so many great memories that we have of Allie being completely unstoppable. We could pair her up with somebody on the other team and tell her she was personally playing against one girl and Allie would rise to the challenge and defeat that girl.
“In a lot of ways, these girls are harder on themselves than I ever could be,” she added. “So the plays when Allie did something phenomenal then actually smiled and was proud of herself are some of our favorite memories of her.
“We will miss her. She’s left a spot where someone will have to have big shoes and a lot of power to fill.”
“I started playing in middle school, seventh grade, probably earlier but school ball in seventh grade,” Anderson recalled. “I didn’t play (much) in middle school and just started playing in ninth grade. That’s pretty much when I started to be a real volleyball player.
“I just like how fast-paced it is,” she said when asked about her love of the game. “I felt like it was what I was most successful at and I just loved the game.”
Little did she know but ATU coach Kristy Bayer had an inside track at recruiting Anderson.
“My sister goes to Tech so I was kind of looking at it from the get-go,” Anderson said. “Coach Bayer started recruiting me kind of early. She just started showing interest then she offered me and I accepted.”
Other options developed, she acknowledged, “There were a couple of other D-II’s and a couple of D-I’s but I thought, Tech would probably be just the best fit for me. It’s a really pretty campus and they’ve had a pretty successful volleyball program. That automatically kind of locked me in.”
As of now, Anderson thinks she might like to be a coach, which is reflected in her choice in areas of study. “I’m thinking about secondary education and kinesiology but I don’t know, I could change.”