In a world full a superstar athletes who love to talk about how many highlights they have, one Griffon athlete simply lets her 1,000 highlights do all the talking for her.
Alyssa Berg, a senior at Western, recently becameÂ the 13th Griffon in 32 years of Missouri Western volleyball to record 1,000 career kills.
She has become a leader for the Griffon volleyball team both on and off the court.
â€œIt was really exciting for me, but it is just something that kind of happened along the way,â€ Berg said. â€œI just wanted to win volleyball games.â€Â
Coach Mastin and Alyssaâ€™s teammates describe her as a leader by example. She has been named to the all-tournament team in three of the four tournaments the Griffons have played in this year. She also leads the team in kills, with over 1,050 now and blocked shots with 22, but Alyssa is more than just a statistical leader.
The team calls her â€œGrandma Griff.â€Â As the lone senior on the squad, sheâ€™s a leader through her wise old ways.Â Bergâ€™s teammate and friend Hallie Delagardelle joked about the number of aches and pains the â€œoldâ€ Grandma Griff has sustained through the years.
Berg has suffered through a torn meniscus, a medical red-shirt year (due to off season surgery), shin-splints, sore ankles and many other bumps and bruises.
In spite of all of her ailments, she has worked hard to become the veteran, lead-by-example Grandma that other, younger, girls can look up to.
â€œI know a lot of the freshmen look up to her,â€ Delagardelle said. â€œI even look up to her even though sheâ€™s only one year older than me.â€
Alyssa is a leader off the court as well, where she has been named to the academic honor roll for volleyball multiple times.Â She is a senior exercise science major, and she has maintained an impressive 3.5 cumulative GPA.
Â â€œI was so happy for her when she got her 1,000th kill because she was just so deserving; because she works so hard,â€ Delagardelle said.
Coach Mastin, who inherited Berg when she took over the team, is impressed with her as well.Â In describing Alyssa she referred to her as a â€œyes mamâ€ type of person who is willing to work hard, and do whatever is asked.
Alyssa worked extra hard in preparation for her senior year this past off season at a place called â€œGoing Verticalâ€ near her home in Nebraska. She spent the summer working out and doing plyo-metrics. By the time school rolled around Alyssa had increased her vertical by an entire inch.
â€œSheâ€™s touching ten feet now, which is really good at this level,â€ Mastin said. â€œYou can tell a difference between spring and now.â€
With graduation coming up in December for Alyssa, her teammates will surely miss her athletic kills and intimidating blocks, but more importantly, they will miss her loyalty and leadership.
She has quietly become more than just the little-old-lady next door. Loved by her coaches and teammates alike, Missouri Western volleyball will not be the same without Alyssa.