Meet the Athlete: Alanna McDonald

Set point

By Mae Jacobson, WAC Associate Editor

Seattle native Alanna McDonald recently joined the WAC’s volleyball team, where her experience as a former professional player makes her a valuable asset. A volleyball player since age 11 and a graduate of Ballard High School, Alanna played college volleyball at Brown University. After graduating, she moved overseas and played professionally while completing her master’s degree. Alanna also stays active through paddleboarding and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

What’s your favorite part about volleyball?
I love the fast pace! Every time the ball is in play someone will score, so there is always a lot on the line and a sense of urgency. I love the challenge of having to make split-second decisions, and I love running the offense for my team.

Tell us about playing professionally.
I played professionally in Belgium and the Netherlands. Playing in the Dutch professional league was a huge highlight for me because those are the most talented athletes I’ve ever had the chance to play with. I finished my career playing one season for Volleyball England’s Super 8s league. My final season stands out because we pulled off an undefeated season, winning the National Cup final and England’s national championship in the same year.

What have you learned from volleyball?
I learned how to be a motivated athlete, but I also learned better communication skills, self-confidence, respect, time management, and how to deal with failure in a constructive way.

Tell us about the WAC volleyball team.
The volleyball program for the WAC is new, and I’m very excited to see how we can continue to grow. We’re able to play an indoor and an outdoor season. We’re always looking to recruit new players! Both women and men are welcome.

Do you have any advice for aspiring volleyball players or other young athletes?
Try a variety of sports, and don’t give up when you feel frustrated or uncomfortable. I’d especially like to encourage young female athletes to stick with sports. It can be hard because sports are a male-dominated space. There are fewer professional opportunities for women, but that will change over time if we invest in women’s sports as a community.

As published in the September/October 2016 issue of WAC Magazine.

—Posted October 4, 2016

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