Another standout player from Crawford County has decided to stay home to continue her volleyball career.
Hutsonville High School senior Mandi Alspach recently signed a letter-of-intent to play at Lincoln Trail College next season.
"It feels good to be able to say I'm a college volleyball player because it's been a goal of mine throughout high school," Alspach said. "I decided my freshman year that I wanted to play in college because that's when I started club volleyball and really got more serious about it."
A four-year varsity player for Hutsonville-Palestine, Alspach finished her senior season with 51 points on 93 good serves with 22 aces, 294 spikes with 153 kills and 195 blocks, which helped her earn unanimous All-Little Okaw Valley Conference Southeast Division First Team honors, while also guiding the Lady Tigers to an IHSA Class 1A Regional championship.
"Mandi was a team player. She always encouraged her team, had a desire to win and left it all on the court," HHS-PHS head coach Shandy Matthews said. "The girls looked up to her not just because she was tall (6-1), but was a good example for her team on and off the court."
Deciding that Lincoln Trail was the right fit was a pretty easy one, as it met several criteria Alspach had.
"I chose LTC because I thought it was a good place to start to get my general classes out of the way before going to a four-year university," Alspach said. "I considered other schools, but coming from a school the size of Hutsonville, starting at a small school seemed more beneficial to me."
As for on the court, Alspach has already become familiar with some of the players and the system at LTC and believes it will be a good fit.
"I've already had the opportunity to practice with and get to know some of the other girls and I think I'll fit in well," Alspach said.
Her coaches believe she will fit in as well.
"I think Mandi will fit in well because she's easy going and gets along well with others," Matthews said. "I feel she will adjust to playing with new teammates easily, which will help her at the next level. She will be an asset to LTC because she is a hard worker and gets the job done."
"I am very excited to welcome Mandi to the team as a middle front (hitter/blocker)," LTC head coach Dana Goodwin said. "I believe she will be a huge defensive asset to the team considering she will be the tallest athlete I have recruited so far. In years past, our blocking couldn't compete with other teams due to our lack of height, so I am eager to see how we match up this coming season."
While her presence in the front row was a huge part of her game, Alspach was well-rounded, as she also served the ball well and was just a good teammate all around.
"I feel like I had good leadership skills and tried to keep the team's spirits up," Alspach said. "I hope to bring that with me next year."
During her time at LTC, Alspach wants to do whatever she can to better herself both on and off the court and hope it translates into an opportunity to continue playing at a four-year university once her time with the Lady Statesmen is finished.
"I hope to become better prepared for transferring to a four-year university while I'm at LTC and hope to play volleyball at a four-year university after I get done at LTC," Alspach said.