Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Messner Makes the Most of One Year

Athlete of the Week: Alex Messner 2013
PALATINE, Ill. – Sophomore volleyball player Alex Messner (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Fremd) has only known one sport for her entire life. After playing volleyball for the DePauw University Tigers in 2011 and then transferring to DePaul University for two quarters, Messner decided to come to Harper College to save money.

Harper volleyball coach Bob Vilsoet talked to Messner's younger sister, Arianna, who he coaches on his Sky High volleyball club team, about Alex playing for the Hawks. Messner took Vilsoet up on the offer and blossomed into a star for the Hawks in 2013.
Harper's top outside hitter who improved greatly and played her best in big matches, Messner can now call herself the ninth Harper College Athlete of the Week for the 2013-14 school year.

Touted as Harper's best two-way player on the court this year by her head coach, Messner settled into the season and became a star with the full repertoire of skills - powerful outside hits, stellar defensive skills in reading the hitter and top-notch serve receiving ability. This was most reflected in wins and losses in the second half of the year, as the Hawks won 19 of their final 26 matches.

In postseason play, Messner was named to the Region IV Volleyball All-Tournament Team, where the Hawks defeated Triton and Rock Valley before losing a close five-set match to No. 1 Madison.

Against Rock Valley, she had a team-high 17 kills on 38 attack attempts for a team-high 34% hitting efficiency. She also played excellent defense with a team-high 17 digs.

"She truly came alive for this match against the defending national champions and led the team with her desire, hustle and clutch play over and over on offense and defense," Vilsoet said.
Athlete of the Week: Alex Messner File

Messner shouldered the load again in the showdown with Madison, leading the team with 14 kills on a season-high 53 hitting attempts. She once again demonstrated her versatility with 22 digs in the most crucial match of the year.
Vilsoet explained that as her teammates got to know her throughout the year, they realized her potential as both a player and leader.

"The setters found their way and set her more often, and as her teammates discovered her true ability, more and more she became more of a vocal leader."

Messner, who had 13 double-doubles in 2013, said she wasn't too disappointed with the postseason outcome.

"Those last two matches were so intense and exciting. They were definitely our best matches of the year," she said. "The friendships that I made with the girls are something that's really important to me."

Next month Messner will get her associate's degree and look to transfer to a school with a criminal justice major.  After that, she'd like to go to law school and one day become a prosecutor.

She said some smaller schools have reached out to her about playing volleyball, but she is leaving her options open.

While Messner will graduate, her sister Arianna is committed to the 2014 Harper team. Vilsoet is excited about having "someone else with Alex's volleyball genes to play at Harper for the next two years."

Vilsoet is also looking forward to seeing Alex in future alumni matches.

"Alex and her Howitzer arm will get to play on our future alumni teams. So hopefully we continue to see Alex playing volleyball in the future in our gym, even if only for these alumni matches and in the stands to watch her sister play."

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