Outside Hitter Overcomes Injury To Earn Starting Spot
Alli Kroeker is in her second year with the Briercrest women’s volleyball team. She grew up with an older brother (Brett) and older sister (Deanna) in Elm Creek, MB, where she was raised by her parents Al and Pat.
Briercrest volleyball runs in the Kroeker family, as Deanna also played for the Clippers for three seasons. Unfortunately, knee injuries also run in the family, as both sisters went through significant ACL injuries during their college careers. On the positive side, both have shown incredible resilience in battling back from those devastating injuries to play at a high level again.
Alli had the more recent experience with her knee injury coming last season.
“I partially tore my ACL in January of 2010 causing me to be out for the rest of the season in my first year”, she said. “That was a trying time for me emotionally and physically, but I tried to stay positive, and remembered that there was always next season. I worked hard in our off season to get back into game shape and knew that it would pay off in the end.”
The focus and determination to work hard in recovering from the injury has paid off. Kroeker has competed hard in practice all season long, earning some time as a starter throughout the season. In the last few weekends she has become a full-time starter, taking over for the injured veteran, Carlee Leclerc, at right side.
“Alli worked very hard in the off-season to get ready for this year after her injury, and she continued to work hard in practices all season – even when she wasn’t always starting”, said Coach Nolan Weinmaster. “We talk about how everyone is so important to our team and you never know when you will be counted on to contribute. It is great to have players like Alli, who are working hard so when their time comes, they are ready to step in and contribute at a high level . . . I have been really pleased with her playing the past couple of weekends.”
Before coming to Briercrest, Kroeker had a successful career at Elm Creek High School, with the Junior Wesmen Volleyball Club and with the Manitoba Provincial team. Kroeker says those were important years in her development as a volleyball player.
“A key person who has made me the player I am today is my high school coach Noel Hudson – coming from a small school, having a good coach like him was hard to find”, said the 5’ 7” outside hitter. “He not only pushed me to be a better player physically but mentally too. Another coach who has made me the player I am today is my club coach Diane Scott – she helped me become a more confident and fearless player.”
Highlights from that time in her career include winning a silver medal at 18U club provincials with current Briercrest teammate Alexis Loewen, and going on to beat the team who would win 18U nationals that year. Kroeker also won a gold medal with Team Manitoba in 2007 and was named to the Manitoba Graduating All-Star team for her grade 12 high school season.
<strong>A great decision</strong>
Briercrest was the natural choice for Kroeker after high school.
“When my sister Deanna went here, I came to almost every game of hers throughout her three years, so I knew Nolan already, I wanted to go to Bible College and wanted to play volleyball, so this place was a great fit!”
Kroeker says her most memorable moments here have been being at the ACAC Conference Championships last year and also being able to play against her sister during the annual alumni weekend matches.
About her overall experience she says, “What I enjoy
most about being a Briercrest athlete is that fact that you become best friends with your teammates. It’s hard not to when your passionate about the same sport, share the same beliefs and spend so many hours each week together, either on the court, bus or in the dorms!“