TEWKSBURY — When we last spoke with Tewksbury High volleyball star, Alli Wild, which was at about this time, last year, she had completely come into her own on the court, helping the Redmen to their finest season in over a decade. The senior co-captain, who has played basketball much of her life and has been an outstanding at it much longer than at volleyball, was unsure which sport she loved more.
A year later, not only has Wild’s love for volleyball grown even more, she is considering choosing it over basketball when it comes to playing sports in college.
“Right now I’d love to do volleyball more than basketball,” said Wild. “I want to try and play in college if I have the opportunity to but so far I’ve had a lot more interest from basketball than volleyball. I wouldn’t like to do basketball as much because there is a lot more running and getting more physical.”
Wild is a four-year member of the Redmen volleyball team and has improved every year despite already being really good as a sophomore. Her desire to keep getting better and being a positive influence helps set her apart from other great players.
“She really is awesome,” said her Tewksbury coach of three years, Allie Luppi. “She is super competitive and yet remains positive throughout. That’s a tough balance because a lot of times you can see a player who’s very competitive and that can spiral negatively. She remains still competitive but positive, upbeat, and she encourages the people around her.”
Wild’s volleyball career began freshman year when her mother encouraged her to go out for a fall sport to keep her occupied until basketball season. When Alli began leaning towards field hockey, her father encouraged her to go for volleyball instead.
A late arrival to training camp, it took only about a week into the season before Wild was called up to the varsity. She not only has improved her game by leaps and bounds ever since, Wild is also a been a positive influence on her teammates.
“She really is one of those players who brings the best out of the people around her on the court, and when she makes a mistake, it doesn’t bring her down, she tries to correct that mistake instead of backing off,” said Luppi. “She goes for it and that makes her a great model for the other players.”
Wild joined Emily Butler as one of the team’s captains this year, and it has been a natural fit. Not only’s one of the captains and also the team’s top scorer on the court, but she is also a great leader in general.
“Our program really does run so smoothly, and I can attribute that to the captains,” said Luppi, of Wild and second-year captain Emily Butler. “Staying in touch with all the girls, and letting them know all the information they need to know to be prepared and ready.”
“It’s different from last year, which I like,” said Wild, on being a captain. “I like being a leader and having the label for it. I like having people’s backs and being there to rely on if they need me or anything.”
After earning All-MVC Conference honors, last year, Wild is up for Player of the Year this time around. The coaches meeting to decide the honor took place Wednesday so hopefully it will be the MVC Conference Player of the Year taking the court Thursday afternoon against Greater Lawrence.
“That was my goal from the beginning of the season, that is what I said to her,” said Wild, of a conversation she had with her coach. “I think I have a good shot for it.”
Wild has averaged close to 20 kills a match this season to go along with about five digs, a couple of aces and a block. In other words, Wild is willing to do whatever it takes to lead her team to victory.
“It’s easy coaching when you have awesome players and she really is and awesome player, and she wants to learn, too,” said Luppi. “That’s another thing. She’s not afraid to ask questions and admit when she doesn’t do things right. She wants to know how she can do things better.”
Watching her play this year, it is easy to see how much fun she and her teammates have together during a match. Wild is the one they look to for the big points and for leadership at crucial times.
It looks like Wild is having the time of her life.
“It’s been really good,” she says, in a way that tells you she’s holding a lot back. “I love every second of it.”
Wild and the rest of her teammates and coaching are focused on winning today and then likely trying to beat top seed Lynnfield, which knocked Tewksbury out, last year. Whether the Redmen reach their semifinal goal or not, it will not be over for volleyball, as far as Wild is concerned.
“I’m excited for her career to continue and see what she does in college,” said Luppi. “I’m sure she is going to be phenomenal. She still has a lot more potential to be unlocked in college.”
Thus far, a couple colleges have reached out to her but she is hoping to generate more interest from other colleges in the coming weeks.