All these accolades are new for Alyssa Valentine, but she may find herself getting used to them.
The freshman setter for the GW volleyball team (5-3) is making a quick and successful transition to the college game, as evidenced by her selection as Most Valuable Player of this weekend’s GW Invitational following Saturday’s 3-0 sweep of Rider University.
Before coming to Foggy Bottom, Valentine had to adjust to a new position and battle injury, all while fighting for playing time on a premier club team in her native California.
So as the All-Tournament honors were announced and it came time to name the MVP, Valentine said she was surprised to hear her name called.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” she said with a laugh. “I don’t know. I just played my game and work really hard to do what I can for the team. I don’t really focus on that. I focus on the outcome of the team.”
A second later a smile breaks through, followed by a reluctant concession.
“It’s pretty cool, I guess,” she added.
Valentine, also named A-10 Co-Rookie of the Week on Sept. 2, had 28 assists, 10 digs and three kills Saturday after a 27-assist, five-point performance in Friday’s 3-0 win over Delaware State. The pair of wins moved GW to 5-2 on the season.
Head coach Jojit Coronel said Valentine “knows how to win” and praised the demeanor the first-year player brings to the team.
“I always ask some of the girls, ‘Are you ready for the game?’ and they’re like, ‘Yeah, I’m excited,'” Coronel said. “But Alyssa’s like, ‘Of course I’m excited.’ And that’s the attitude you need. It’s like, ‘I expect to win. I expect to just trounce our opponent.’ That’s what you need. It’s great.”
While Valentine took home the top individual honor of the weekend, she was joined on the all-tournament team by senior Liz Moult and sophomore Hannah Stuart. Moult and Stuart led the Colonials in points in both tournament contests, registering a total of 22.5 and 21 points, respectively, over the two matches. The pair was often on the receiving end of Valentine’s well-placed sets and they rarely disappointed.
The Colonials did not drop a set over the weekend, though they were not completely without challenge from their opponents. Rider put together a number of scoring bursts Saturday, but GW was able to counter and stave off the Broncs for an eventual victory.
“I thought we did a really good job setting a tone, playing fast, making adjustments,” Coronel said. “We worked on a few things this week on defense and it really paid off.”
Next the Colonials will travel to the West Virginia Invitational, their final tournament before conference play begins with trips to Duquesne and Saint Louis.
Their next home game is an Oct. 3 date with Dayton. By then, Valentine may have added more honors to her list.