AVCA Under 30 Winners

Happy National Volleyball Day!

The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) announced their 2018 Thirty Under 30 Award winners and we have a representative from the DIII West Region – Trinity’s assistant volleyball coach, Alyssa (Aly) Lilley. The award was created to honor up-and-coming coaching talent across all levels of the sport. To qualify, the nominee had to be younger than 30 in 2017. I, of course, just missed out soley due to this (dare I say) unfair requirement.

Now, how do I turn this wonderful achievement for Coach Lilley into a personal story? Oh, I’ve got it…

Coach Lilley was formely Coach Hazelwood back when my daughter was being recruiting and she really was one of the nicest people in volleyball that we ran across during this process. It was a true shame when my daughter went to Southwestern and we all had to sign the pledge to hate everyone and eveything about Trinity. OK, that was a joke. Relax. But, was it?

Anyway, I remember my daughter playing 17s at Tour of Texas down in Houston. As luck would have it, they played this one set that finished 33-31 or some such. Our team had run out of subs so my daughter was playing front row as well as setting from the back. We were playing a really good (and tall) Houston team that should have beaten us pretty handily but our girls played a defensive game that you can only dream about. Watching this game was a DI coach, DIII coach and Coach Lilley. (I’m 99% sure she was watching this game but my memory is going so who is to say.) I happened to be videoing the match and the DIII coach and Coach Lilly were sitting in front of me. My daughter had a bunch of ninja like digs and was getting her hands on every block attempt. At the end of the game, which our girls won, the DIII coach turned to Coach Lilly and said, “That’s the best club game I’ve ever seen.” (Or there abouts…it’s my memory so it’s my story.)

Long story, longer…the two head coaches really pursued my daughter and we actually visited the DI school. We also did a volleyball camp down at Trinity and I always felt that Coach Lilley was pushing for my daughter. Coach Jenkins, however, liked another (fabulous) setter better so it really didn’t work out. (Side note – I’ve always appreciated the honesty we got from both coaches during the recruitment process.)

That’s a really long way of saying that I’ve always liked Coach Lilley, “Trinity Hatred” pledge be darned, and each year I wonder when she’ll be tabbed as a head coach somewhere. I can only assume her love for Trinity keeps her there, but she is going to be a great head coach someday.

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