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Player Spotlight: Paige Alsten

Middle+blocker+Paige+Alsten+and+outside+hitter+Morgan+MacGilvary+jump+to+block+the+ball+in+their+Oct.+29+match+against+University+of+Tennessee+Chattanooga.+The+bears+wore+pink+in+recognition+of+Breast+Cancer+Awareness+Month.
Middle blocker Paige Alsten and outside hitter Morgan MacGilvary jump to block the ball in their Oct. 29 match against University of Tennessee Chattanooga. The bears wore pink in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Middle blocker Paige Alsten and outside hitter Morgan MacGilvary jump to block the ball in their Oct. 29 match against University of Tennessee Chattanooga. The bears wore pink in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Middle blocker Paige Alsten and outside hitter Morgan MacGilvary jump to block the ball in their Oct. 29 match against University of Tennessee Chattanooga. The bears wore pink in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Emma Peel, Staff Writer

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Paige Alsten, a native of Lighthouse Point, Florida, has become a dominant presence in Southern Conference volleyball.

Measuring 6 foot, 3 inches tall, Alsten is a natural at the net and plays the position of middle blocker.

Throughout the 21 games the team has played so far this season, Alsten has totaled 94 blocks — the most of any Southern Conference player and over twice as many as anyone else on the team.

Alsten has also garnered 116 kills on the season, and she has a hitting percentage of .215, the third highest among hitters on the team.

In addition, she has started in every single match that the Bears have played this season — an unusual occurrence for most Division I freshmen.

The Mercer volleyball team began the season with a string of seven losses in their first eight games, only winning the third against Southern University.

Alsten said that after this initial losing streak, the team was able to reevaluate and bounce back.  

“The beginning of a season is always the time to learn,” Alsten said. “Whether through wins or losses, the team gets to see what works and what doesn’t, and I think that we are becoming stronger as a team and a program and proving that through our play.”

And prove their strength they have. The team, since then, has shown a stunning seven home-game winning streak, and their second shot at beating Samford attracted a crowd of 403 people, many of whom were parents and family members visiting for the volleyball parents’ weekend.

The energy and frenzy of the fans was contagious.

After dropping the first set, the Bears dominated Samford over the next three sets to win the match.

Alsten was hands-down the star of the match because she led the Bears in both hitting percentage (.500) and blocks (5). Alsten now has multiple blocks in 16 consecutive matches and in 19 of 21 matches on the season.

“With the Samford game, I think everyone just understood what a win like that would mean for our program,” Alsten said. “That plus how hard we had been practicing plus the amazing turnout and support all added up to our win.”

Despite being new to collegiate level volleyball, Alsten has dominated against her more experienced competitors, and maintains a positive outlook on the remainder of the season.

“I think the teams focus going forward is to never be neutral,” Alsten said.

“Whether we win or lose matches, we want to have played the hardest we could that day, practiced to the best we could that week, and be better than we were the day before,” she said.

 

 

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Player Spotlight: Paige Alsten