UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Six years ago, a young Ali Frantti sent head coach Russ Rose an email, telling him that she wanted to be a part of the Penn State women's volleyball team.
Now, as a freshman in college, that dream has come true.
After graduating from high school early, Frantti arrived in Happy Valley last January. In just six months, she has found herself in the team's starting lineup.
How did the Spring Grove, Illinois, native earn that spot so early on in her collegiate career?
Head coach Russ Rose said he was first impressed with her ability to score. After graduating 60 percent of the team's points, it was crucial to find players to fill the void. Frantti was, and is, a key figure in that process.
"We needed individuals that were prepared to cut a lot of the slack offensively. She came in and her best skill was attacking," Rose said. "That's what I thought her main calling card was when she arrived."
Her ability to score points started seven years ago when she first started playing volleyball. She began participating in local volleyball camps as a fifth-grader, after her mother encouraged her to try it out. Frantti fell in love with the sport and she began playing competitively in sixth grade.
From then on, Frantti watched Penn State play and win multiple national titles, and knew this was where she wanted to play. So when the time came to pick a college, the choice was easy.
"I thought it was a great place. Academically, and I just love the community. [I love] how every sports team is like one team and everyone supports each other," Frantti said. "It was a great fit and I'm so lucky to be here."
To her, being on the Penn State women's volleyball team is an honor.
"I couldn't be prouder to represent Penn State and their work ethic and what they stand for," Frantti said.
This weekend, Frantti will have her first taste of tough competition, when the team travels to California to play No. 2 Stanford and UCLA in the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge.