Arkansas native provides spark on volleyball defense, uses height to advantage
Allison Wyatt, a sophomore majoring in health sciences with an emphasis in health education and promotion, has always aspired to play volleyball for a Division I school, like UALR. Even though she only stands at five-foot-two, when most college volleyball women are about six feet tall, Wyatt has never been intimidated.
“I don’t feel like I’m that short,” Wyatt said. “I feel like I’m just as tall as them.”
Wyatt has played volleyball since she was 7 years old.
“I just always watched it whenever I was little. I always watched the high school team and said, I am gonna do that some day,” Wyatt said. “[and] I just loved it from the first time I played it.”
Wyatt grew up in Jonesboro, where she attended Nettleton High School. During her senior year of high school, Wyatt’s team won the state title. She was selected as the most valuable player for her high school and was chosen to play on the all-star team, where she was also awarded MVP. Wyatt also played for the Arkansas Juniors, a club team in Nettles.
When she played for high school and for the Arkansas Juniors, Wyatt played as an outside hitter. Now, at UALR, she is the defensive specialist, meaning she only plays half of the rotation in the back row. Her teammate, Eva Xie, plays the front row positions.
“[Playing back row is] different because when you’re a hitter, you get the points, but being [on] defense, you have to depend on other people [to score],” said Wyatt. “It makes me feel good when someone is able to get a kill off of a good pass [or when I make] a play that people don’t expect [me] to get.”
“College is a lot harder than every other level that I ever played at. It’s a lot faster,” Wyatt said. “You can be the best in your high school but in college everyone is good, everyone is there to play.”
Choosing to come to UALR was not a hard decision. Wyatt grew up knowing about the school and the team.
“I came to camp [at UALR] my senior year. The coaches asked if I would stay and talk to them, and then, after that, they offered me a scholarship,” Wyatt said. “I considered going to Arkansas State Univeristy because I’m from Jonesboro [but] I really wanted to get a scholarship. I didn’t want to just walk on [to any team]”
“Once I met the girls, I knew I made the right decision because all of them were so sweet. I couldn’t have picked a better team. There’s not one single person I cannot stand. I think we have really good chemistry [on the court],” Wyatt said.
Wyatt has always set her goals high.
“To get here was a great accomplishment,” said Wyatt, “[but] I would love to get defensive player of the year.”
Wyatt has spent much of her life looking forward to playing volleyball for a Division I school. Now that she has reached her goal, she has to decide what she wants to do when she graduates from UALR.
“I don’t really know what I want to do [after college], but I think I’m going to go back to Jonesboro,” Wyatt said. “All my family is there [and] I am a family person.”
During volleyball season, the team is constantly busy and traveling.
“[The season is hard] because I’m so close to Jonesboro. When we are in season I don’t get to go home, but the girls have created kind of a home here,” Wyatt said. “[It also helps to have] teachers that are really understanding and appreciate what you do.”