Alisha Glass is pretty special here in the Toy household. We think she is a awesome setter, maybe the best ever, but that’s not what sets her apart for Ellen and I. Alisha “listened” to the heartfelt tweet I sent her a year and a half ago, and what started out as a twitter follow turned into much more. Alisha started the “ball rolling” on having Ellen “virtual coach” from right here at home, and add her thoughts, again via Twitter, to the important match being played in Belgrade, Serbia. Ellen was deep into her treatments for gastric cancer, and the opportunity to connect with people, literally all over the world was a real lift in a difficult time. We are forever grateful for that Sunday morning!
Alisha is also one of the worlds best volleyball players. I could go on for pages with her accomplishments, but here are some important highlights…
Three consecutive NCAA championships at Penn State and an All American in 2008-2009. Repeated as Female Indoor Player of the year 2013-2014. Named best setter at the World Championships where she lead the US team to their first ever Gold Medal. Stayed in Italy this season to compete in the top Italian Professional League.
Things are going pretty well for Alisha Glass. As busy as she is, She took the time to join her teammates in answering our “Five Questions”. Thanks Alisha!!!
Current Team- Imoco Volley Conegliano
What a thrilling ending to a productive summer of tournaments and workouts in the USA National Team gym! When the dust settled in Milan, and the immediate celebrations slowed down, was there someone who you wished were there to share in your achievement?
I wished that my whole family could have been there to celebrate, especially my mom. She's my biggest fan, my most valued supported, she supports me no matter what and I wouldn't be able accomplish any of it without her.
Down the stretch in Italy Coach Kiraly used the double-sub more and more. Do you see this as something more teams will start to employ and what adjustments does this force opposing teams to make?
I think we have a great system, our double-sub does an amazing job of impacting the game during the time they come in, and they can turn the tide with those 3 rotations. They bring an energy that the team needs and it was so valuable in the World Championships. It's not easy, just because you double sub doesn't always mean you'll have an advantage, you need the right people to get the job done. Other teams have to defend against another 3 hitter rotation, they often have to then attack against a stronger blocker, it also allows the players that come out to save some energy and refocus and be better for when they re-enter.
During timeouts it looks like you and Courtney Thompson have your own huddle. What ideas do you exchange and what are you looking for watching from the bench during the rotations Courtney is setting?
We're trying to have the most amount of information possible. We both have feelings about how things are going during the match when we're on the court, like what the blockers are doing, what's successful, what's not as successful. Those feelings can sometimes be spot on, and sometimes you need the outsider's perspective to help you make adjustments that will help the team. We look out for each other and we support each other, it's just how it should be!
You have been in Italy for a while now and you will be spending a lot more time there. What is your favorite thing about Italy and are you able to speak any Italian?
I like the history, they have buildings that are older than our country. I also like that it is split into regions and that each region has a food specialty that they are famous for, so it's great to be able to travel and see and eat new things!! I'm understanding more and more Italian from being here and I'm working on the speaking part!!
It has to seem like a dream at times, being in your position. When did you first get the idea that being part of the National Team Program was possible, and looking back who was the most impactful person in your journey?
When you're a kid, you dream big. You find what you like (volleyball for me) and you figure out what the most amazing accomplishment would be in that field (the Olympics) and then if you really decided to go after it, you have find the path that will take you there (the National team). I'm going to go on and on about my mother again but she was the one who introduced me to the sport, she's a coach, and she also did an amazing job challenging and questioning me along the way. Is this really what you want? Are you putting in the work in order for you to get where you want to go? She held me to my answers and made sure I stayed on my path. She showed me it was possible.
Is there an athlete you admired growing up, and what team/teams where you a fan of?
I wanted to be Misty May, she was the setter to be! I was also inspired by Karch, I met him as a kid and got a photo and an autograph, not knowing that years later I would get the honor of playing for him!
I can’t say enough good about Alisha Glass. The only thing better than her incredible hands is her gigantic heart. Thanks for all you have done Alisha. It would have been easy to turn away. That’s just not how you operate! Your best assist might not have been on the court at all!