Volleyball: Alyssa Kvarta making impact as sophomore
By Ryan Haskell Post-Tribune correspondent September 16, 2012 11:32PM
Crown Point's Alyssa Kvarta cheers on her teammates during a meet on Saturday, August 18, 2012, in Michigan City. | Mark Smith~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 18, 2012 6:21AM
Crown Point’s Alyssa Kvarta has one of the coolest nicknames in the region.
“Her teammates call her Cheetah because she moves so fast,” Bulldogs’ coach Allison Duncan said. “I think, by far, her speed is her greatest strength. She’s able to get to so many balls that so many can’t get to.”
She’s also one of the top sophomores in the area and she’s helping the Bulldogs build a program that should compete for a Duneland Conference title the next two years.
CP is 8-5 overall and 4-3 in the conference this season.
Kvarta, who has recorded 85 kills, 111 digs, 130 assists and 48 aces in 13 matches this season, has been a force for CP since she first stepped onto the court last fall as a freshman.
“It was no surprise how good she was going to be,” Duncan said. “You know who you have coming up in your school corporation and she’s been on the radar for a while. I knew she was going to be up on the varsity as a freshman I just wasn’t sure where she’d play as a freshman since she’s a setter. It’s like the quarterback position and it’s difficult to come in as a freshman and be the setter.”
Kvarta might have looked confident on the court but she had some freshman jitters the first part of last season.
“It was intimidating a little bit,” Kvarta said. “As a freshman I know people (on the other side of the net) probably saw me as the weakest link so I couldn’t be afraid of them. So I just shrugged them off and played my game. It was funny showing them what I could do and watching their face.”
The sophomore shared setting duties with senior Emma Ogden (160 assists) when the season began, but an injury to senior outside hitter Taylor Equihua has forced Kvarta to take on more hitting opportunities.
“A big part of Alyssa’s success is because I have a skilled senior setter that can set a lefty,” Duncan said. “With my No. 1 hitter out, a large majority of my sets are going to Alyssa so we have to strategically mix up the offense so there’s not a block put up on her.
“But they work great together. They block, they serve and they do some serve receive rotations for me. If I didn’t have a setter like Emma, Alyssa’s stats would be so different.”
Kvarta, who started playing club volleyball when she was eight years old, is thankful for Ogden’s play too.
“She contributes a lot to the team,” the sophomore said. “A setter knows how everybody wants the ball and she controls the team out there and does a great job. We wouldn’t have gone as far last year or this year without her.”
The same can be said about Kvarta. That’s what makes the Bulldogs dangerous in the second half of DAC and in this year’s postseason.
“We’ve had a lot of extremely long, hard-fought matches,” Duncan said. “The kids are close. I’m excited to see what they can do together. We went out against Valpo and took the first game and we took the first two games against Chesterton before losing that one.
“The goal for the second half is to finish and finish quickly and I think that’s a good goal to have.”
Having a “Cheetah” on your team goes hand-in-hand with “quickly” so that’s a good start.