By MICHELLE SPEAKER
Senior Allee Stelogeannis is an outside hitter determined to make her final season with the Spartans her best yet. Recently, the Sunshine State Conference awarded Stelogeannis the Offensive Player of the Week for her performance during the weeks of Sept. 19-25, and also for the week of Oct. 3-8.
These awards are the first and second of Stelogeannis’ career, as well as the first for the Spartans this season.
“It makes me feel great and inspired to keep getting better, but it’s all thanks to my team, so hopefully we continue working and go for our first goal of winning conference,” Stelogeannis said. “Being able to represent the university in such a positive way is an honor.”
Head coach Chris Catanach said he thinks this award is Stelogeannis’ reward for how hard she works and is hopeful that multiple associations will recognize her this year. “She has been in the shadow of some very good players here at UT, so my hope is that she will receive some attention,” Catanach said.
After having a good weekend offensively, with 22 kills and 17 digs in the game against Embry-Riddle, Stelogeannis led the Spartans to a 3-1 win. During the Rollins game, Stelogeannis scored 12 kills and 10 digs to help Tampa secure the game.
“It’s always great to have weekends like that,” Stelogeannis said. “It feels like all the practice pays off, but we’re always just working together to outplay the opponent.”
The team has been working on serving lately and Stelogeannis added three service aces in the three-set sweep against Rollins while taking the SSC lead in kills per set by averaging 4.68 this season.
“During the weekend, Allee was scoring points on her attacks more than fifty percent of the time,” Catanach said. “That is quite impressive.”
Catanach said that Allee has always been one of their hardest workers.
“This is the first year she has had the opportunity to be a full-time starter and she is learning how to handle the responsibility of being our ‘go to’ player,” Catanach said.
Some of Stelogeannis’ biggest improvements have been seen in her kill efficiency and serve receive, according to Catanach.
Throughout the years, Stelogeannis says she has learned quite a bit. The coaches are always working to make each of the players better.
“I think each year I try to pick an aspect of my game that I can hopefully make better and benefit the team,” Stelogeannis said.
In the five-set match against Florida Southern on Sept. 27, Stelogeannis had 16 kills and 10 digs. Within the first set, Stelogeannis hit a perfect 4-for-4 to open play. Although Tampa did win the first two sets, the Spartans did not take down Florida Southern. On Sept. 29 in the third set against Florida Tech, Stelogeannis attained five kills for a set-high. Stelogeannis registered 15 kills and 12 digs in this match.
The Spartans dominated in their latest match against Lynn on Oct. 7. In the first set, the Spartans concluded with a score of 25-14, Stelogeannis had nine kills, as well as five digs. In the second set, Stelogeannis and junior outside hitter Molly McAlvany continued the two-sided attack to have a combination of 15 kills. The second set was finished with a final score 25-21. Stelogeannis wrapped up the third set with four kills, knocking the opponent with a closing score of 25-21. Stelogeannis hit an even .500 (16-2-28) on the match. The 16 kills Stelogeannis had against Lynn makes the 14th match in a row that she has reached double-digit kills.
The Spartans record now stands at 10-4 overall, 4-2 SSC. Tampa will compete in the South Region Crossover on Oct. 14 and 15 in Orlando, Fl.
Michelle Speaker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org