JOLIET, ILL. – Pirate Postcards is back for its seventh installment, providing an update on the summer activities of Seton Hall student-athletes.
The latest postcard comes from rising junior Alyssa Warren (Joliet, Ill.), a libero for the Pirates’ volleyball team who through her first two seasons in blue and white, has already established the credentials to be considered one of the best in program history.
2012 will feature familiar faces in new roles for the Seton Hall volleyball squad. Former assistant coach Allison Yaeger, an accomplished libero during her own collegiate career at Wright State, has been elevated to the position of head coach after five years with the program.
To round out her staff, Yaeger brought in Allie Matters, one of the greatest players in SHU volleyball history. After spending two years as an assistant coach at Canisius, Matters returns to Seton Hall where she currently holds the single-season and career digs records, set during her playing days from 2006-09.
Together, along with a core of experienced, battle-tested players, they will look to build on the program’s recent success.
In 2011, SHU secured its third consecutive appearance in the BIG EAST Championship as the Pirates posted their most wins (17) since 2003 and set a new school record for BIG EAST victories with eight.
Anchoring the defense, Warren played a large role in the team’s progress. The Illinois native posted over 20 digs in eight different matches last season, including a school record-setting 45-dig masterpiece in a five-set victory over Boston College. In recognition of her performance, she was named BIG EAST Player of the Week, becoming the first player in program history to earn the honor.
Warren’s stellar sophomore campaign exceeded the standard she set during an equally impressive freshman season, during which she set a new school record for digs by a freshman. Her 563 total scoops in 2011 were good enough for fourth in the conference, and surpassed the 520 she had recorded the year before as the third highest single-season total in Seton Hall history. Through her first two full seasons in South Orange, Warren sits fourth on the school’s all-time list with 1,083 career digs.
Her prowess is not limited to the confines of Walsh Gymnasium however. A USA Volleyball veteran, Warren was one of just 12 athletes selected to compete for the 2011 USA Volleyball Women's Junior A2 Program, which marked the second time she earned a spot at the national level. As a member of the U.S. Women's Junior A2 Red Team in 2010, she earned All-Tournament and Best Passer awards after guiding squad to a second-place finish at the High Performance Championships.
In early 2012, was invited to participate in United States National Team open tryouts for the third-straight year and was ultimately selected as an alternate for the 2012 Women’s A2 Program. A first-hand recap of Warren’s experience at the tryout can be seen here.
Her adventures on the national stage did not stop there, as Warren recently took her talents to the sand to compete for a spot on the USA Volleyball High Performance Beach National Team. After the tryout was completed, she was once again kind enough to provide a recap of her experience for SHUPirates.com.
A standout off the court as well, Warren is a two-time BIG EAST Academic All-Star, was recently elected vice president of Seton Hall’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and is extremely active in the community.
With the school year fast approaching and focus shifting towards the upcoming season, Warren took some time out to share some of the highlights of her summer and her hopes for the Pirates on the court in 2012.
Hello Pirate Fans!
I hope everyone is enjoying their summer as much as I am. With the school year approaching, I wanted to check in and to tell you a little about the highlight of my summer.
This past week I worked at a camp called Royal Family Kids Camp. This is a camp that churches around the country sponsor for kids who come out of the foster care system. The camp's mission is creating positive memories for children of abuse.
I heard about this camp through my church and knew immediately I wanted to do it. I had to attend a training session at the beginning of July for two days to talk about the rules, how to react in different situations, meet the rest of the team, and learn more about the camp. Going into it I didn't really know what to expect or how much interaction I would get to have with the kids, but I was told I would be working with arts and crafts.
At the camp, we had a very tight schedule. There were many really cool activities involved: swimming, a waterslide and ski machine, rock climbing, basketball, soccer, volleyball, arts and crafts time, a ropes course, movies, wood working, canoeing and club time which was drama time where we had bible stories, worship music, games, and skits. They also brought in a petting zoo, hot air balloon rides and paragliders who dropped candy with little parachutes attached. It was so cool!
This camp was all about spending time with the kids and just showing them God's love through the theme verse: "For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate me from his love." Romans 8:38. We also celebrated their birthday on Wednesday and threw a huge birthday party with lots of presents, cake, ice cream, and of course, a dance party. It was awesome!
My main focus was on arts and crafts. I worked with the camp director's wife and a good friend of mine named Farrin. We did so many crafts with the kids including: tie dye shirts, duct tape purses, satchels, wallets, flip flops, bracelets, draw string bags and cards. The kids loved it. Going in, I didn't really know what to do, but after the first day I started getting more comfortable and was able to use my gifts to show/help the kids create really fun crafts. I never thought that something as simple as drawing a basketball could make someone's day.
I was also asked last minute to be in one of the skits for club time so that was exciting as well. I made my debut as an emerging actress. At night time, I was used for night relief and was given the chance to spend more time with the kids in getting them to sleep. I have to say it was difficult some nights but nice because I was asked by the kids in my room to read them bible stories before they went to bed and to pray with them. I was honored to be able to do this for them because I knew it was something that meant a lot to them. The last day, I played some of the boys in basketball. They were really good, but I was able to get a few points here and there and we had a lot of fun.
The most rewarding part was being able to see the kids open up during the camp and to know that I was making a difference in their life because they were being loved for at least one week. Community service is very important to me because I believe I am called to serve people. The experience of helping other people is something you cannot replicate.
My experience at the camp was just another part of what has been an awesome summer. I got to see some family in Alabama and I learned how to play golf. I played multiple times with my parents as well as in the Midwest Alumni golf outing. Anyone who has played golf knows, it is a fun but challenging game.
Warren took to the sand to
compete in a tryout the USA
Volleyball High Performance Beach
National teams at Montrose Beach
in Chicago on June 2.
Warren took to the sand to
Aside from the competition, the Olympics are a great platform to get some added exposure for the sport. I think volleyball is a sport that is overlooked sometimes and knowing that a lot of people are watching during the Olympics is pretty cool. It shows people that the game is intense and very exciting and boasts some really talented athletes as well.
Watching the Games has given me a little extra push in my own training. To prepare for the upcoming season, I have been lifting and conditioning. I follow the workouts that our strength & conditioning coach, Angelo [Gingerelli] gives to us and I have been going to my old club facility to get a few touches on some volleyballs, as well as playing a little beach volleyball.
I am super excited for the season to start and trust that Coach Yaeger and Coach Matters will lead our team to success. I think they are both intense and very competitive coaches but can relate very well with the girls on our team at the same time. I know they want to win and will do whatever it takes for our team to accomplish our goals.
The biggest goal I have coming into this season is to win the BIG EAST Championship. Given the group of girls we have coming back and with your support, I know it is within our reach!
Well, that’s all for now.
I hope to see everybody out in Walsh Gym for our home-opener against Princeton on September 12!
Check back soon on SHUPirates.com for another Pirate Postcard!
Past Pirate Postcards:Women's Soccer Midfielder Marie Klemme