JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Mar. 23, 2011) -ETSU volleyball senior Alysa Long (Romulus, Mich.) recently had a chance to compete against some of the nation's top players at the U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team tryouts, Feb. 25-27, at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo.
"It was a great opportunity," said Long. "I was able see some of the top players in the country, while also getting a chance to see some of the athletes that train there on a regular basis. I began training for this since December with our strength coaches Ashley Kavanaugh and Mike Israetel. I also got some additional reps on the court working with Coach Lindsey Devine, Coach Rachel Cooper, and newcomer Kayla Williams (El Paso, Texas), who was setting for me."
A projected 36 athletes will be invited to participate in the program, which will include training and competition in the 2010 USA Volleyball Open National Championships in the Open Division from May 28-31. USA Volleyball considers the event as the National Championship for the sport of volleyball in the United States.
The U.S. Women's National Team program is open to athletes who have concluded their college eligibility and who wish to train full-time. This program could begin as early as March 2011, or when an athlete's scholastic or professional club season has concluded. Athletes who will have remaining collegiate eligibility may still participate in the program with participation beginning May 2011 or when their scholastic calendar ends.
A record 208 athletes signed up to participate in the open tryouts, with participants representing 81 different colleges. There were 57 outside hitters, 52 middle blockers, 46 liberos, 27 setters and 26 opposites all looking for spots on the USA National Team.
The three-day audition had the oversight and evaluation of U.S. Women's National Team head coach Hugh McCutcheon and assistant coaches Karch Kiraly and Paula Weishoff.
"Our entire volleyball program is so proud of Alysa for her commitment to the sport of volleyball," said Devine. "After a fantastic senior year, I really encouraged her to keep her passion for volleyball going so why not try out for the USA National team. I told her that regardless of the outcome, this opportunity should be viewed as something very special. From our conversation after the tryout, I know that she represented herself and the ETSU volleyball program with great pride."
Long had a standout season for the Bucs as she helped the team to an impressive 26-9 record. The 26 wins were the most by the program since the 1978 season. In addition, Long was selected as a First-Team All-Atlantic Sun honoree.
She finished the season first in the Atlantic Sun in both hitting percentage and blocking. The middle blocker also finished the regular season ranked 27th in the country in blocks per set. She completed the season with 164 blocks, 304 kills, and a .336 hitting percentage. In addition, Long concluded her ETSU career with the highest hitting percentage in school history at .327. Her 164 total blocks this season rank as the third highest in ETSU single season history.
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