By Matt Curry, WSOE Sports
Freshman Ali Deatsch is the Elon Phoenix’s Varsity Volleyball defensive specialist or in other words the “libero”. She has played in over 100 sets this season and is a vocal leader on the floor. She has helped her team to a 22-6 record with three games remaining in the regular season, and a possible berth in the Southern Conference Tournament.
When asked why she decided to attend Elon, Deatsch responded frankly, “I wanted to play volleyball here, but I obviously looked at the academics as well.” Her coach in high school pushed her to succeed, and was in fact the one who introduced Deatsch to Elon. She expected to come to Elon and help her team out and make a difference in her freshman year. She was however “really nervous and excited,” but at the same time “had fourteen guaranteed friends to help me out.” These friends of course refer to her teammates who have really made her adjustment to college a delightful one. There aren’t any special traditions that came along with joining the team, but she loves going out to eat with the girls.
Asking Deatsch about her daily life and the commitments to being both a student and an athlete, the first thing she did was smile and say “it is really tough.” Her typical week includes “class starting at 8am every day, study hall (6 hours every week), breakfast with the team, weights or film depending on the week and who we play, dinner together.” There is always something going on in Deatsch’s day to the point where she has to stay up late just to finish her homework.
Ali Deatsch really seems to just love what she is doing in life. She started playing volleyball when she was in 5th grade because “everyone was doing it and I wanted to join in.” Soon she would fall in love with the sport and seemingly “never stop playing.” She decided to stop playing softball because of her love for volleyball, and she continues to show this love for her favorite sport at Elon. One of her closest friends on the team, freshman Carly Ledbetter, is just as passionate about volleyball as Deatsch and they play all the time for fun. Deatsch really credits her coaching staff and team members for helping her make the most of her first semester so far, and she only looks for the semester to keep on improving. She also hopes to work towards one day being captain of her team.
One way for Deatsch to improve her year would be with a championship in the Southern Conference Tournament. With three games remaining in the season, she and the rest of the Phoenix squad must play hard and win all of their games to get into the tournament. With the memorable victory against Samford earlier in the year when they weren’t expected to play well, the Phoenix won convincingly in three sets. With that mentality in mind Deatsch stated confidently, “I believe we can get into the tournament and it is always a possibility to win it all because of how many good players we have on the team.” When asked about the loss of sophomore teammate Traci Stewart to an ACL tear, she responded with “it’s scary mentally because we haven’t had to play without her all year.” Even with the loss of Stewart, Deatsch still believes in what this team can accomplish, and welcomes the challenge one day at a time.