Middle hitter lifts off in freshman year

Hueston finds comfort zone at Eastern

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Middle hitter lifts off in freshman year

Blake Nash, Staff Reporter

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If ever there were any doubt in Allie Hueston’s mind, Saturday’s match against Tennessee-Martin helped reinforce how comfortable she has become at Eastern.

The freshman from Anderson, Ind. tied her career and season-high fifteen kills, leading all players in that category, while also adding three digs and blocks each in the three-set victory over the Skyhawks.

“It was pretty comfortable,” Hueston said. “It was fun to see Maddie and play against her. I thought she did pretty well.”

Hueston went up against her former club teammate Madison Bergren, who was playing setter for the Skyhawks Saturday.

The two played for the Munciana Volleyball Club in Indiana, and were part of the Samurai club team that finished second at the 2014 AAU national championships, which take place during the summer. The Samurai consist of all 18 year-old players, who are transitioning from high school to college.

They were also occasional opponents in high school, but Bergren’s Delta Eagles were often victorious over Hueston’s Alexandria-Monroe Tigers.

“Delta was a very good team, and were a bigger school than us, so we struggled at times against them,” Hueston said.

Despite being one of the top five blockers in the Ohio Valley Conference and heading toward a possibly bright future at Eastern, Hueston looks at her 2014 season with the Samurai as her No. 1 sports highlight.

“We were the underdogs in most of our gold bracket matches, while playing against teams stacked with girls committed to going to big time volleyball programs,” Hueston said. “But that didn’t matter to us, so we showed them what playing as a team was really all about.”

Even though most of the Samurai are from central Indiana, several players are currently playing for schools from all across the country.

Two players in Lauryn Gillis and Tarah Wylie are playing on the west coast for the University of Southern California and Pepperdine University, respectively. Also Hueston and Bergren are not the only Samurai players competing against each other in conference play. Former teammates Tionna Williams and Carly Skjodt are part of another rivalry in the Big Ten, playing for Wisconsin and Michigan, respectively.

However, Hueston’s decision to enroll at Eastern, came as a result of feeling that the university was just right for her.

“It was a matter of finding the place that just felt right, and when I visited Eastern it wasn’t just one particular thing that sold me on the place, it was everything!,” Hueston said. “I just felt comfortable, the campus was pretty, the people were nice, and it was just a place where I felt like I fit in well.”

This season Hueston has been the Panthers’ starting middle hitter since the season began, and currently ranks in the OVC’s top five in blocks at number four with 54 total blocks. She is one of two true freshman currently on the Eastern roster.

“We are a young team, but we do have upperclassmen on the court with the experience which we hope will guide those kids,” Eastern head coach Kate Price said.  “Our freshman have earned big roles which will definitely help them in the future.”

  Blake Nash can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]