By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
ALEXANDRIA, Ind. —
A change of roles and improved health helped Alexandria's Allie Hueston earn the accolade as The 2013 Herald Bulletin Volleyball Athlete of the Year.
Hueston's presence at the net helped the Tigers to a 25-10 record and a berth in the sectional title match.
"I thought I played pretty well this season," said Hueston. "I knew I had to be more of a leader this season as a senior."
"I can't say enough about Allie," said Alexandria coach Jeff Harmon. "She is every coach's dream. She would stay extra time after practice. She was our go-to person and a great kid on and off the court."
The stats bear out how dangerous she was at the net. She amassed 634 kills, which amounted to nearly 6.5 per set. She also had 110 blocks, which was just over one per set.
But she also played back row because of the team's youth and inexperience.
"I would have preferred not to use her back there," said Harmon, thinking about the back trouble that plagued her junior season. "But we needed her back there. She was able to hold her own defensively."
Hueston had 38 aces out of nearly 400 serves and only 16 errors. She also had over 200 digs.
Fortunately for her, the back trouble wasn't a huge issue for her senior year.
"I didn't have much pain at all," said Hueston. "It flared up a couple of times. (My junior year) was not fun. It was painful. This year I was really able to go all out."
She faced a defense stacked primarily to stop her.
"I faced double blocks from every team," said Hueston. "It was a compliment, but it also could be frustrating. But I think it made me better, and it opened up some things for some of my teammates."
Her successful prep career along with her club experience, get her noticed and eventually led to a scholarship offer from Eastern Illinois University.
"I visited (Eastern Illinois) after my club season last year," said Hueston. "I got to attend some practices and they were run a lot like our practices. The campus there was awesome. It was hard to decide to go that far away. But it will be good to be on my own. It is about a three-hour drive if I need to get home."
She will miss the support of her family at each match.
"My parents and my grandparents have just meant so much to me," she said.
"You just don't replace someone like her," said Harmon. "She's like a Lauren Miller or a Katie Muey. She just did so much and played at such a high level."