About three weeks ago, Truman State’s volleyball season ended. With the season’s closing came awards and other special recognitions for the players in the GLVC, and among these recognitions for exceptional effort is being named a member of the All-Conference team, which was awarded to Truman senior middle hitter Ali Patterson.
During each season of her four-year career at Truman, Patterson has been awarded All-Conference recognition in some form — an honorable mention as a freshman, first-team as a sophomore, second-team as a junior and second-team again as a senior. But despite receiving the award before, Patterson says she enjoys the recognition.
“I think it’s an acknowledgement for all the hard work I’ve put in,” Patterson says. “Of course, I couldn’t have done any of this without my teammates — it’s a team sport, and I wouldn’t be able to do anything like this without their help.”
Patterson finished her career with 1,058 kills, making her the fifth Bulldog to register more than 1,000 during their career. She also had 462 blocks, which is sixth all-time. Throughout the Bulldogs’ season, Patterson says she has taken a leadership role within the team, whether it’s helping the other players practice or giving her teammates a greater drive to win.
“I try to do what I can to make the team better,” Patterson says. “I try to push my teammates, try to make them better, give some positive feedback and, of course, to make myself a better player. I come in every day to work harder for my team. Every day I train, I see that I have Truman on my shirt and on my jersey. I’m motivated by the thought that I’m working for something bigger than myself — I’m working for my team and my program at the school.”
Senior opposite hitter Abby Heise says she compliments Patterson on her leadership skills and willingness to do anything she can to improve the team overall. Heise says she can always play confidently with Patterson because of the drive and urge to win Patterson possesses. Heise says her All-Conference teammate’s passion for volleyball inspires the other players to play their very best, and she says Patterson has a killer instinct that rubs off on the other players.
Head Coach Ben Briney says Patterson’s drive plays a huge part on the team.
“She really helps the team with the fire she brings to the court,” Briney says. “She does not like to lose, and she’s always going to be the one to drive her team. She wants the ball, and she demands it when she is out there.”
Briney says at the end of the year, the GLVC coaches vote on which athletes are given varying degrees of the All-Conference award. He says eight athletes are awarded the first-team award, eight are given the second-team award and six more are named honorable mentions. Briney says because the coaches cannot vote for members of their own team, the All-Conference award means Patterson’s opponents recognized her skill and hard work. When describing Patterson’s honors as a Bulldog, Briney explained how Patterson earned the award.
“She did a great job of keeping her errors down last season,” Briney says. “She’s been an [effective blocker] in the middle, one of the best we’ve had here at Truman. She’s one of the best in the conference — she’s proven that year in and year out. She’s put in the work, and it’s great that she’s being recognized for it.”