Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Just how good of a year was 2013 for Leland’s Alisha Glass?
USA Volleyball answered that question earlier this month when it named Glass its 2013 Female Indoor Athlete of the Year.
That accomplishment is our No. 7 story of 2013.
A setter, Glass helped the U.S. women’s national team win gold medals in the Pan American Cup and NORCECA Championship and a silver medal in the FIVB Grand Champions Cup.
This after just missing out on a roster spot at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Glass was an alternate on that team.
“It was heart wrenching to be that close and not get to go,” she said in a Christmas Eve interview. “After missing out in 2012, I wanted to refocus my effort and set the tone for what I want to happen in 2016 (next Olympics). It was really important for me to get back to the basics, regroup and put a strong showing out there — just kind of send a message to the coaching staff that I’m in it for the long haul and that I want to be better as an athlete and teammate.”
So, in that regard, 2013 was an important year for the former Penn State All-American. And she certainly sent a message with her play.
Glass was named the Best Setter at the NORCECA Championship as well as the FIVB World Grand Prix.
The 2013 campaign was, in a sense, a transition year for USA Volleyball. Retirements, injuries, marriages and a pregnancy shook up the rosters, giving some up-and-coming players an opportunity to gain valuable experience on the world stage.
The team, which went 25-6 on the year, responded.
“We didn’t know what the year would hold,” Glass said. “But we were real happy with where we set the bar in terms of what we want the USA Volleyball program to look like and be in the coming years.”
The play and leadership of Glass was noted by head coach Karch Kiraly.
“Our program’s biggest theme for 2013 was the commitment to learn, to grow and to pursue mastery relentlessly, and to support others doing the same; Alisha embraced and exemplified those notions,” he said in a release when Glass was picked as the Athlete of the Year. “In competition, she played a major role in leading our young group to battle – and to a series of hard-fought wins – against the world’s best. Alisha was a big reason why USA got off to such a strong start in the new Olympic cycle.”
The highlight of the year was playing the NORCECA Championship in Omaha, Neb.
“My family got to come,” she said. “For them to see me in a USA jersey on U.S. soil was a pretty special moment.”
Glass is currently playing professional volleyball in Turkey for the sports club Fenerbahce, based in Istanbul.
“I’m enjoying myself,” she said. “Not only am I beginning to understand the Turkish culture and that environment, but we have five foreigners on the team (the other four are from Korea, Czech Republic, France and Brazil) so we’re kind of a melting pot.
“Also, (Fenerbahce) is a huge sports club — a lot of sports, a lot of different teams. This year they’re pushing really hard the concept of family. We took our team photo with all the sports (teams). And I’m living right next door to the soccer stadium. It’s a cool environment to be part of a team like that.”
After that season ends in the spring, Glass will return to the States and join her U.S. teammates. Tournaments begin in June.
“No rest for the weary,” Glass said.
And Glass plans to attack 2014 much like she did 2013.
“I have the same goal,” she said. “I want to make the (2016) Olympic team. It’s going to push me that much harder.”