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Finishing Strong - The 2019 Alli Papesh Story
Finishing Strong - The 2019 Alli Papesh Story
Published by BeckysTXA
Finishing Strong - The 2019 Alli Papesh Story

I think it’s fair to say after Alli Papesh was named the 2018 A10 Rookie of the Year, the Flyer Faithful expectations for her sophomore year were high. She is after all the highest ranked hitter to ever play for Dayton coming out of high school as the #66 recruit. She enrolled at Dayton a semester early and got a spring season in with her new team. In the fall of 2018, she came out of the gate her freshman year playing opposite the 2018 A10 Player of the Year Lauren Bruns in the rotation. Together they provided a dynamite duo on the left side for the Flyers. It was tough to stop both of them in any given match.

“Being a freshman next to Lauren Bruns, I learned the facets of the UD offense,” Papesh reflected this week as she prepares for her second NCAA tournament match. “I admire the way she grew from freshman to senior year and it’s something that I wish to one day be able to accomplish myself. She was a powerhouse and it was awesome being able to learn from her.”

This season, Papesh is playing opposite A10 POY Jamie Peterson as both play the two left outside positions. Peterson is playing six rotations and has taken 35% of the team’s swings. Papesh has taken the second most swings this season (17%) even though she has missed 15 out of 111 sets. I think it’s fair to say this season as a whole has not been as solid as last year for Papesh and Flyer fans took note. After two weekends into the year the thread “Papesh – is she where you expected?” popped up in the volleyball forum on udpride.com. It was early and the jury was still out, but fans clearly had taken note. In October, udpride.com sent a list of player names over to Dayton’s Sports Information Department inquiring about injuries. Papesh’s name was on the list. The response back was she was seeing a doctor. Aside from that, Papesh continued to work to learn and improve her game, even if some weeks it was watching from the sideline. Since they play the same position, Peterson, who spent a season as an injury redshirt two years ago, was a big part of that learning.

“Playing next to Jamie Peterson has been a blast,” she said. “I’m looking forward to the next two years playing next to her. I’ve learned more of the mental game and how to handle myself from Jamie. She is in a huge role and position for us, and the way she has handled herself while also being the teammate she has been to me has been very admiring and something I wish to embody for others in the future when they arrive at Dayton.”

For whatever reason, Papesh has struggled some this year. Her stats between the two years are as follows:

2018 -- 2019
Kills/set 2.58 -- 2.15
Hitting % .225 -- .160
Blks/set .48 -- .44

However, after all is said and done, other than hitting percentage, she isn’t that far off from last year. Granted you want to see steps forward, but if there have been health issues, she probably would have played less than 100% this season in many matches. Yet, look what she did in the two A10 Tournament matches. All of these stats are very good for her position.

Kills/set 2.89
Hitting % .266
Blks/set .56

Without Papesh, Dayton would not have won the St. Louis 5-set battle in the semi-finals. I for one thought she should have made the All-Tournament Team. She played very well both matches. She scored 18 points in the SLU match, second only to Peterson’s 25.5. If we had lost that match, there would have been no NCAA bid this year. We will need more of that when we meet Marquette on Friday and she says she and the team are ready.

“We are so excited to be playing at Purdue against Marquette. We aren’t going to be doing anything different or out-of-sorts on our end. We’re going to better our own game in as many ways as possible to best prepare us. Marquette is a solid team, and this first round match up will be a challenge, but it’s a challenge we are all excited and ready for.”

Papesh will be playing in her second NCAA match. There are two rotation players, Amelia Moore and Josie Vondran who will be dancing for the first time. There is probably no one on the team better than Papesh, to advice Moore and Vondran on preparing for the NCAA’s.

“The advice that I would give to Josie and Amelia going into the NCAA tournament is something that I learned last year,” she stated. “I would tell them that you have to have the ‘do or die’ mindset and have some fire with what you’re doing. This is the best time of year, so enjoy it because there is no ‘next match’. It’s time to trust the work you’ve put it.”

Papesh is a great player who has had a lukewarm season. But it’s not over. Just like the last two matches, the Flyers will need Papesh to play big against Marquette. To do that, she will need to take her own advice. Play with the ‘do or die’ mindset. Play with some fire. Trust the work she’s put in. Finish strong. This team’s Legacy and Alli Papesh’s Legacy has not yet been written.

NOTE: Coming on Thursday - Hear from the coaches headed to Purdue for the first two rounds of the NCAAs.
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By maddog07 on 12-04-2019, 04:30 PM
“Other than hitting percentage.”... arguably the single most important stat at her position. “great” players don’t have “Lukewarm” seasons ... especially in only their second season. Not sure why she gets all this ink or needs an apologist. She had a lackluster season. A major factor in our struggles against the good teams. Hopefully she improves next year.
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By BeckysTXA on 12-04-2019, 05:23 PM
Originally Posted by maddog07 View Post
“Other than hitting percentage.”... arguably the single most important stat at her position. “great” players don’t have “Lukewarm” seasons ... especially in only their second season. Not sure why she gets all this ink or needs an apologist. She had a lackluster season. A major factor in our struggles against the good teams. Hopefully she improves next year.
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Hate to disagree with you maddog...since you know so much about volleyball. Are we up to 10 posts yet? Keep posting. You will learn and as someone said, awesome the volleyball program has reached a status where maddog is posting in its thread/articles.

Hitting percentage is NOT the most important stat for a left OH. Kills/set is the most important, followed by points/set. Why? Because the left OHs get sent the most balls to take a swing at. They are the two hitters that usually lead a team in kills. Not every match...but over a season, usually. It depends on what offense you run. The second reason left OH hitting percentages can be low is because that position gets almost all of what I call the “junk” sets. Those sets where the first touch was bad and whoever is trying to set (second touch) has no where else to go except to the left outside or a back row attack, which is also one of your left outsides playing 6-rotations. Everyone in the gym knows the ball is going to them when you are out-of-System, including the other teams players.

Allie was second in kills per set this year and third in points per set at 2.46, right behind Amelia at 2.55.

In that “meh-win” over #39 Michigan, Allie scored 19.5 points, second to JPete in one of the biggest wins of the year. And as noted above, played outstanding in the last two matches - the other two biggest matches of the year. Nobody on Michigan’s team scored more points than Alli, but those girls probably aren’t very good, being they play for Michigan and all...

Here is another example, in the A10 tournament, MVP JPete only hit .110, but scored more than 40 points in two matches. She was voted the mvp by those that know the game and what is important at her position.

Sorry you’ve written her off for this season. Why wait until next year? Last I looked we have a big match against the #13 rpi team on Friday. Still time to come up big.

“Great posters don’t have “lukewarm” and factually incorrect posts. But, keep posting...you’ll learn this game yet. And, hopefully next year you’ll post better.
Last edited by BeckysTXA; 12-04-2019 at 05:37 PM..
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By Lifelong Flyer Fan on 12-04-2019, 05:43 PM
Thanks, I learned something about the Left OH position. ("Everyone in the gym" with the exception of me! :-)
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By jack72 on 12-04-2019, 09:28 PM
Thanks for the great post and the explanations. Keep up the great posts.
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