Girls volleyball: South Elgin's Worden commits to Iowa
When South Elgin junior volleyball standout Alyssa Worden sat down to decide on college, she had some pros and cons of several schools to consider.
For the University of Iowa, their list of pros went on and on and on.
"Iowa just felt like home to me," said Worden, who visited the campus in Iowa City in August and committed to the Hawkeyes Oct. 16.
"I like the fact that it's closer so my parents can come watch the games," Worden said as she started to rattle off all those pros. "Something about the Big Ten excites me. It's the best conference as people say. I'm excited to play at that really high level as well. And they have great academics which is always a plus because there's obviously life outside of volleyball. They have a nice campus. They have a nice coaching staff. They seem really supportive. The whole community support at Iowa is really amazing. Everywhere I go I see an Iowa shirt."
The Hawkeyes are getting a well-rounded outside hitter who can do everything on the court. As a freshman, Worden led the Storm's Upstate Eight Conference championship team in kills with 315 and aces with 54.
She chose to play club volleyball her sophomore season instead of the shortened, pandemic-caused spring high school season. This fall, Worden has again been putting up big numbers for South Elgin with 364 kills, 58 aces, 20 blocks and 247 digs through the regular season.
Iowa also is adding a driven and focused player who credits her Sports Performance club with instilling that intensity.
"They push everyone to hit their goals," said Worden, who also has a list of what she wants to improve on before she gets to Iowa.
"The Big Ten is a very aggressive conference so I need to be more of an aggressive player. I need to lift more, jump higher, hit harder, faster in the back row. Everything I'm doing right now was enough to give me a scholarship but I'm not where I want to be for that (next) level."
Worden said she is thinking of majoring in psychology or sports medicine with a goal of becoming a sports psychologist.
She also has a good idea of her role for Iowa's volleyball team.
"Six-rotation outside hitter," Worden said. "I will fill any role they need me, but honestly that's kind of what they (Iowa coaches) told me so that's what I expect going into college."
Worden and the Storm are hoping for a strong end to their season. After winning another Upstate Eight title, South Elgin heads to St. Charles East this week for regional play.
"Comparing to where we started and where we are now, I'm extremely proud of the girls," Worden said. "Everyone is busting their butts on the court. We are really pouring out hearts out there when we play. Everyone skill-wise got better too. We are playing so much better than we did at the beginning of the season."
Storm coach Joni Plach also is proud of what Worden's accomplished.
And she's excited to see what her future at Iowa holds.
"Alyssa committing to Iowa is not only exciting for her, it's exciting for the entire South Elgin volleyball program," Plach said. "The girls on the lower teams look up to her as a role model on and off the court. She is the first one to shag volleyballs without being asked and to carry the poles for the volleyball net at the end of practice. They see the work ethic she has during practice and how she is not only pushing herself to be better but also pushing her teammates to be better. Alyssa has made plays this year that I have never seen in high school volleyball in my 17 years of coaching. Not only does she have the skill to play DI volleyball but she has the commitment and dedication. I am looking forward to going to see her play at Iowa."