Volleyball player Justine Kelly named to Saint Vincent Bearcat, Buttermaker Invitational All-Tournament teams

Eylie Buehler, Staff Writer

For the past two weekends, volleyball player Justine Kelly, ’18, was named to the Saint Vincent Bearcat Challenge All-Tournament Team and to the Buttermaker Invitational All-Tournament Team.

Kelly, a setter on the team, was honored by the accomplishments.

“It is a very exciting feeling because it was my first collegiate award I received.  It was also rewarding because all of the hard work paid off,” Kelly said.

Kelly stated this is her first step forward in her collegiate volleyball career.

“I am very honored to have the opportunity to play for this team and to be a part of it all,”  Kelly said.

Coach Bridget Sheehan gave some background on how one receives a spot on such an outstanding team.

Sheehan said that coaches from each team vote for a player they saw and felt was superior at the tournament.  A player from each team present is chosen and recognized at the end of the tournament.

“…[Kelly] impressed a lot of other coaches.  She has good skills as a setter, but more importantly makes good decisions on the court,” Sheehan said.

Sheehan continued to say it truly is an honor to be selected for an all-tournament team.  It establishes a player as being one of the top athletes in their position and present at the tournament.

According to Kelly’s teammates and coach, in order to receive a spot on these teams, a player must possess a specific set of characteristics on and off the court.

Taylor Samuel, ’16, who was also named to the Buttermaker Invitational Team, said Kelly contributes more to the team than just being a great setter.

“She [Kelly] shows leadership on the court, positive energy, confidence and intensity,” Samuel said.

Emily Adams, ’17, said Kelly also remains calm in tense situations and can make smart decisions and plays quickly.

“She has a positive attitude on and off the court.  The game would not flow smoothly without her,” Adams added.

Although Kelly did not recognize these qualities in herself, she feels her commitment to the game and to her team made it possible for her to be named to both of the teams.

“I’m willing to give my all to make us the most successful that we can be,” Kelly said.

For the rest of the season Kelly just wants to continue improving and perfecting her game.

“I want to adjust more to the college level…I want to become a stronger and more consistent player,” Kelly said.

Samuel sees Kelly continuing to contribute a great deal to the team and surpassing the goals she has set for herself.

“It is very clear she is a great setter, but she also contributes many blocks, digs, and aces for the gators. Although she is only a freshman, I see a great future for her on this team and know that she will continue to excel,” Samuel continued.

As far as the rest of this year’s volleyball season goes Sheehan feels it is too early to tell the outcome.  She said their main focus is what is directly ahead of them.

“We play one match at a time without looking ahead. Our focus is on the next time we play,” coach Sheehan said.

Sheehan’s players feel this year will be a strong year for them, however.

“This season will be a great year,” Samuel said. “We have a lot of talented players on the team that will all contribute to the gators success. I think we will be tough competition for our opponents. The team looks great so far and our record of 6-2 shows that we are a hardworking and dedicated team that looks forward to winning more games for Allegheny.”

The women’s volleyball team’s first home tournament will take place on Sept. 12-13.