Photos by Karen Akers
The pipeline of volleyball players from Shady Spring High School to WVU Tech has steadily grown the past few years.
Friday afternoon, Shady Spring right-side hitter, Aly Holdren signed a National Letter of Intent to officially become the next Tiger standout to join Amber Linville’s squad as a Golden Bear.
“It is really exciting. I have definitely worked hard for this opportunity and this is kind of my reward,” Holdren said. “At first I really didn’t want to play college volleyball, but the more I thought about it, I felt like I would regret not playing.”
Kelly Williams not only coached Holdren during her high school career at Shady Spring, Williams also coached the future Golden Bear at a younger age.
“I have coached Aly in elementary (school) and then again in high school. Aly is a coach’s dream,” Williams beamed. “She is hardworking, dedicated and very competitive. Aly is also strong-willed, respectful and just a wonderful team player.”
According to her longtime coach, Holdren’s work ethic and versatility are two of the characteristics that have set her apart over the years.
Making her even more valuable as a player is Holdren’s ability to play every position on the volleyball court.
“Aly is a versatile player. She has been a hitter, setter, libero and defensive specialist. She is willing to do whatever we, as coaches, asked of her,” Williams said. “She will do whatever the team needs without hesitation. Aly is a strong leader, a wonderful student and an exceptional young lady.”
Holdren fully believes the lessons learned during her time at Shady Spring will help her succeed at the next level.
“I never thought about it at the time, but I would have never really wanted anyone else to be my coach. I love Kelly and she is a great coach,” Holdren said. “I think learning to keep a positive attitude and making the best out of every situation will help me more than anything when I move on to college.”
Shady Spring graduates, Brooklyn Cook, Ashley Farruggia and Brooke Pesley also wear the gold and blue for Linville.
“I am very familiar with them and that will be a nice comfort zone for me, knowing that I am with a few players that I know,” Holdren said.”
For Holdren, Tech provided the best of both worlds when it came to family. Not only will she reunite with some of her volleyball family, the close proximity of the Tech campus will allow her family and friends to see her play.”
“To me, family means a lot and Tech was close to home,” Holdren said. “I toured the campus a few months ago and I really, really liked it. I like the psychology and forensics program at Tech.”