Bruises don’t bother OPRF libero Allie Nelson

SHARE Bruises don’t bother OPRF libero Allie Nelson

At 5-6, Oak Park-River Forest junior libero Allie Nelson doesn’t have the size to be intimidating on the court.

OPRF coach Don August and Nelson’s teammates know better, however.

“I’d be scared of her if she was my opponent,” 6-3 junior teammate Ariel Hamby said. “She’s not someone I’d be trying to hit to. Allie is ferocious on the court. Her defensive skills are intimidating to the other team. Teams try to stay away from her and you can’t run over her easily.”

Nelson got a kick out of Hamby’s assessment.

“I never thought of myself as ferocious, but I like that word,” Nelson said.

Libero isn’t necessarily the position Nelson anticipated playing when she entered the program. She had always been an outside hitter before switching positions after her freshman year with 1st Alliance Volleyball Club.

“It was kind of hard, but I was not growing anymore,” Nelson said. “Height became a factor and it was time to switch.”

Nelson now plays for the Michio Chicago Volleyball Academy in Evergreen Park during the offseason and can’t imagine playing anything but libero.

“I love it so much,” Nelson said. “I love throwing my body everywhere and diving all over the floor. I love the bruises I get. I don’t give up on any ball.

“I take a lot of pride in my defense and my communication. I’m very loud and yell and cheer a lot. I’ve always been an outgoing and all-around loud person. I’m always trying to cheer my teammates up when they are down.”

Nelson helped the Huskies (11-11) win 30 matches last season and capture the program’s first sectional championship since placing second at state in 1987.

Her impact this season has been even more important after OPRF graduated a talented senior class. She doesn’t come off the court, except for one serve rotation.

“Allie is an intense player who loves to frustrate the offensive opponents with her ability to keep the ball off of the floor,” August said. “She is a high-energy player who focuses on every play and gives maximum effort on every ball hit over the net. In addition to her defensive abilities she has an aggressive serve with the courage to hit tough serves in tough situations.”

Nelson also finds time to shine in the classroom and participate in other activities. The River Forest resident is involved in the Huskie Athletic Council, Infant Welfare Circle 80 and also coaches and referees youth volleyball. She played soccer until her sophomore year.

“Allie is a great teammate,” Hamby said. “I’ve been playing with her since I was 12 and she’s one of my best friends on the court. You always know you can count on her and everyone feeds off of her energy. She’s always hustling and talking to everyone and helping them get better.”

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