After taking a year off from volleyball, former Lady Panther volleyball player Alli Sommerville has signed to play next season for Presentation College, a four-year NAIA school in Aberdeen, South …
After taking a year off from volleyball, former Lady Panther volleyball player Alli Sommerville has signed to play next season for Presentation College, a four-year NAIA school in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
“Presentation College has a really good nursing program,” Sommerville said of her decision to head East. “I checked out their volleyball program, and it was a good one, so it seemed like a good fit.”
A 2018 graduate of Powell High School, Sommerville was a two-year starter for the Lady Panthers her junior and senior seasons, as well as a team captain as a senior. She began playing in middle school, and also played for local AAU traveling teams.
“I love the teamwork aspect of the sport, of everyone working together,” Sommerville said. “I like the communication — everyone gets excited. I really enjoy that.”
After graduation, Sommerville attended Northwest College for a year while she decided on her next move. Though the Lady Trappers expressed an interest in Sommerville’s volleyball skills, the departure of longtime head coach Shaun Pohlman was enough for the recent graduate to explore other opportunities.
“NWC was in the process of switching coaches, so I thought I’d see what else was out there,” Sommerville said.
At Presentation College, Sommerville will join a large recruiting class as Saints’ head coach Chelsey Albrecht looks to fill a void left by a handful of graduating seniors. Sommerville visited the campus in April, and had a chance to meet her new coach and work out with some of her new teammates.
“I stayed the night with all of the girls, and we held a practice,” she explained. “I love the coach and the team; they’re super-nice and fun.”
Albrecht has Sommerville listed as a defensive specialist, and was impressed by her skill set during workouts — especially at serve receive.
“We feel like Alli will be a good fit,” Albrecht said. “When she had the opportunity to come in and play with our team this spring, she had really good ball control skill that can certainly help our team. Specifically on serve receive, she did a really nice job of being consistent. I think the more she continues to play at the college level, she’ll increase her digging ability and her range and continue to grow as a player.”
The Saints were 12-17 last season, 4-10 in the North Star Athletic Association conference. The program graduated five seniors, and is bringing in 12 recruits, including a few junior college transfers.
“We’ll be on the younger side, just because we did graduate quite a bit of experience,” Albrecht said of her team. “But I do like the mix we have coming in for this next year. It will definitely fill some needs that we have been addressing this spring that we feel we need to be competitive in our league. We’re excited to take the court in August.”
Sommerville will look to add to that mix, both on and off the court; Albrecht said she’s impressed with the young player’s attitude and commitment to the sport.
“When she had a chance to come on her visit and in all our communications, she has been very respectful and fun to work with,” Albrecht said. “I think that she’ll be coachable, and I’m excited to get to know her better and get her a chance to be with our team more.”
As for what she’s looking forward to the most about her upcoming adventure, Sommerville said the opportunity to meet and play with new teammates tops the list.
“I think the biggest challenge will be working with new people,” she said. “I’ve been familiar with the girls in high school for so long, and I’ve never worked with players other than them. I think getting to know new people and figuring out what their skills are and how their communication is will be exciting.”