Last Updated: Wed Nov 02, 2022 - 4:05AM
During her time at Derry Area, Alanna Meloy played three sports for the Trojans. She excelled in volleyball in the fall, basketball in the winter, and softball in the spring. Meloy ultimately opted to continue her athletic career in volleyball, and she’s become a vital member of the team at the University of Pitt-Greensburg. Meloy is under the spotlight in the latest edition of the Westmoreland Alum Q&A.
In Meloy’s freshman year of volleyball in 2017 at Derry Area, the Trojans went 9-3 in section play, and qualified for the WPIAL Class 2A playoffs. From there, DA bested Shenango 3-1 in the first round, but fell to Beaver Area 3-1 in the quarterfinals.
The following year, the Trojans posted a section mark of 10-2, returning to the 2A postseason. After ousting Beaver Area 3-0, Derry Area was bounced by North Catholic 3-1 in the quarterfinals.
Meloy helped propel Derry Area to another 10-2 section mark in 2019, but the Trojans fell 3-1 to Hopewell in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs.
In Meloy’s senior season of 2020, the Trojans again made the WPIAL 2A playoffs, as they compiled a section mark of 5-3. However, DA lost 3-2 to Neshannock in the preliminary round to conclude the season.
While she also enjoyed success in basketball and softball at Derry Area, making the playoffs in both sports, Meloy chose to play volleyball at the next level.
Following her graduation, Meloy joined the team at Pitt-Greensburg as a defensive specialist. As a freshman in 2021, she played in 21 matches, recording 20 service aces and 78 digs. The Bobcats went 3-22 overall, including 2-6 in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC).
This season, Meloy played in 21 matches for UPG, notching 32 assists, nine aces, and 239 digs. The Bobcats struggled again, however, posting a mark of 2-20 overall, including 1-6 in the AMCC.
With her season concluding over the weekend, Alanna dedicated time to respond to questions about the improvement between her freshman to sophomore campaigns at UPG, what she misses most about basketball and softball, and what rule change she’d bring to college volleyball.
Q: You rank among the team leaders in digs this season. What has been key to your success in that aspect?
A: The mental aspect, not letting the last play affect the next one, as well as the way coach runs practices; it’s a ton of game play. I’ve gotten in more reps this season than ever before and it’s helped me immensely.
Q: What are your best attributes on the floor?
A: I’m definitely known for my dives and one arm ups. But other than that, my communication and energy are big things I bring to the court.
Q: You have taken on an expanded role this year from your freshman year. How have you improved during that time?
A: Confidence plays a huge part in my improvement; believing in my abilities and putting in the extra reps. Last year as a freshman, I saw some court time, but not as much as I wanted. This year, I came back and put in the work to earn my starting position. The competitiveness between the defensive specialists made me work harder each day at practice, so I definitely credit my teammates for pushing me all season, as well.
Q: As the season winds down, what have been the biggest factors in UPG's struggles?
A: Our biggest struggle is finishing games. We are in so many close games that we don’t finish.
Q: *How did you do in terms of achieving individual and team goals that were set for this season?
A: Earning my starting position and being top five in our conference for digs per set are two individual achievements I am proud of. As a team, we set a goal to make the postseason tournament. Ultimately, we didn’t achieve that goal, but there were so many improvements made through the season. We aren’t giving up. We had a standout pair of freshmen come in this season who were fabulous and had a huge impact on our team as a whole. The plan is to bring in some fresh faces for the 2023 season to fill the big shoes that graduated, plus a few more to make us that standout team we’re trying to be.
Q: What led to your decision to attend Pitt-Greensburg?
A: Pitt-Greensburg has a beautiful campus with an excellent education program, so those were two very big factors in my decision, as well as it being close to home!
Q: What is your major, and ideal future profession?
A: I am an early childhood education major, and I would love to teach first grade and coach volleyball or softball.
Q: What has been your most challenging college class?
A: Macroeconomics, for sure.
Q: You also played basketball and softball in high school. What do you miss most about those sports?
A: Softball was always my first sport growing up, which is why when I announced I was playing volleyball in college everyone was thrown off. I miss the weekend tournaments the most; I have so many memories from all three billion I’ve been to over the last 13 years. As far as basketball goes, it was just my in-between sport to keep me active. It wasn’t until senior year that I truly was always excited for basketball practice/games. I had an outstanding coach, Coach Gene Brisbane, who changed my perspective on not just basketball, but life in general. It was an honor to be coached by him, and anyone who has played under him will agree. As for the actual sport of basketball, the aggressiveness that comes with basketball is absolutely what I miss the most; playing volleyball, there isn’t that physical contact aggression aspect.
Q: What was your fondest high school memory at Derry Area?
A: I was one of the team captains of the softball team that won the program's first ever playoff game. The feeling that I felt that day is unmatched.
Q: If you could change one rule in college volleyball, what would it be? Why?
A: A rule I would change if I could would be the fifth set only going to 15. Let us play a whole game to 25!
Q: Do you prefer water, a sports drink, or something else for volleyball?
A: You will never catch me not drinking an Alani Nu energy drink before games. But for the games themselves, I’m definitely a water kind of person.
Q: To which movie or TV show can you recite nearly every line?
A: High School Musical 2
Q: If you were stranded on an island with one teammate, who would you choose to be with? Why?
A: Gracie (Bradley). She’s definitely been my rock this season regarding things on and off the court.