EMMA KNIGHT / THE EAGLE
Volleyball’s 1-2 showing at the Arizona Desert Classic in Tucson, Ariz., last weekend marked the ninth, 10th and 11th matches of freshman libero Allison Cappellino’s career at AU.
It also signaled the first 11 matches that she has played at her new position, and the significant progress she has made. Cappellino had played outside hitter before her AU career.
“I think I’m definitely getting used to the position,” Cappellino said. “Playing libero is a new position for me. Everyone is helping out — the other defensive players are giving me tips and coaches are being really patient with me — so I think them helping out is definitely helping me get better.”
Cappellino led the Eagles with 16 digs in a 3-1 victory over Boise State (7-7), 16 digs in a 3-1 loss against UC Irvine (5-8) and six digs in a 3-0 loss to Arizona (8-3). She also leads AU (6-5) with an average of 4.17 digs per set on the season.
“Allison makes it difficult for our opponents to score,” AU head coach Barry Goldberg said. “She has excellent defensive skills, receives serves well and is currently ranked the number one server in the Patriot League [with 19 service aces] after only four weeks of competition.”
The freshman has adjusted to her new position very quickly. She has already been named to two All-Tournament teams.
“It felt awesome,” Cappellino said about winning the Patriot League Rookie of the Week twice in the first four weeks of the season. “I’m honored to get those awards so far, especially in my first couple of weeks here. I couldn’t have gotten those awards without my team.”
With nearly the entire non-conference season completed and Patriot League play rapidly approaching, Cappellino will certainly play a role in whether AU is able to win its 11th conference championship in 12 years.
“Allison has contributed well in her first weeks of competition, and I am confident in her ability to play a role in our continued success,” Goldberg said.
The Eagles play their first conference match of the season Sept. 21 in Bender Arena against Army in a rematch of last year’s championship match. They also play host to Holy Cross Sept. 22.
“From what I’ve heard, they [Army] always bring a great match,” Cappellino said. “We’re all excited for the match, and it should be a good one. We have to know what our goals are going into it, and we’ll be okay.”