College volleyball: Texas Tech freshman standout White is blocking everyone
Cool, calm and collected.
Those are the three words Texas Tech volleyball coach Tony Graystone used to describe Allison White, one of his four talented middle blockers.
Of the quartet, White owns a statistic that is telling of her dominance at the net: she leads the team with 48 total blocks.
"The coaches and the team have really helped me out," said White, who has tallied 95 kills, five kills and ranks seventh in Big 12 hitting percentage. "It's been a super-easy adjustment. They just all create this culture of hard work in that everyone is the same, it doesn't matter how old you are."
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White is also a true freshman, but that hasn't deterred her from earning valuable time in the rotation this season for the Red Raiders (11-3 overall, 0-1 Big 12). The former Argyle standout has started in all 14 matches, which is a feat accomplished by two other teammates: sophomore outside hitter Emily Hill and junior setter Missy Owens.
"She's super consistent, puts up a good block, plays both sides of the net, offense and defense are strong," Graystone said of what makes White so successful. "She hasn't been, necessarily, the centerpiece of a game plan yet. But as we've gone through matches, she's really picked it up."
Even in a four-set loss to California at the beginning of September, Graystone realized he had one building blocks for future success.
Watching the game film, the Red Raiders second-year head coach lauded the play of White -- who he felt really came out of her shell. And the statistic verified his statement.
White notched a season-, and career-, high 14 kills against the Bears, while also chipping in two blocks. Along with her double-digit kill performance, the freshman did not make an error on the attack.
More so, Graystone felt White showed leadership qualities.
She provided the final kill, of her four, in the second-set, 25-22, victory. White followed it up with six kills to help Texas Tech tie up the fourth set at 24-24 until California scored the final two points to close out the match.
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"First two sets, we didn't do much with her," Graystone said of White. "After the intermission, she was by far our best player. And she's got it in her. We've got to try to add to her offense a little bit. But she's so consistent, low-error girl and puts up a good block."
Indeed, if she can mesh her strong defensive play along with a strong swing on the attack, Graystone feels her potential is limitless. White has notched season highs in kills (14 against California) and blocks (five versus Dartmouth and Baylor).
"Man, Allison is a monster. Just amazing out on the court," Texas Tech sophomore outside hitter Chandler Atwood said. "Everything she does is with a purpose and discipline. And even when she messes up, she's doesn't make the same mistake twice. She's great on this team."
With three more years to play, White is expected to play a large role as part of the future but -- in the present -- she'll look to help Texas Tech earn an elusive Big 12 victory. The Red Raiders have not won a conference match since 2015.
Texas Tech gets a chance to end the drought at 6 p.m. Wednesday against West Virginia (12-2, 1-1) followed by a 6 p.m. Friday contest against No. 18 Iowa State (10-1, 1-0) inside United Supermarkets Arena.
"Everybody recognizes everybody's strengths," Graystone said. "So, it doesn't matter to us if they're a freshman or an upperclassmen. If they can play, then they can play. And that's all we care about. So players like Allison and (freshman) Emerson (Solano) and then all of the transfer that have fit right in, it's been more about just what are we able to get from them as opposed to: How old are you? Are you waiting your turn? That part's irrelevant."
As for the budding standout middle blocker, White is happy to be on the court after shaking off the first-match tension.
"I was definitely a little nervous the first time I stepped on (the court)," she said. "But within the first five minutes I was comfortable. This is the game is usually play. Just at a different level."
This article is written by Carlos Silva Jr. from Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Texas and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.