D’Errico aims for pro league

Will Cleveland
, Democrat and Chronicle

May 24, 2014

Alyssa D’Errico has played indoor volleyball professionally in Spain, Croatia and France over the past three years. The former Penn State and Byron-Bergen standout dreams of a day where she will be able to play professionally in this country. Until that hap­pens, she will do all she can to help the game to grow both locally and na­tionally.

That includes work­ing as an unofficial re­cruiter for the Western Empire Volleyball Asso­ciation, the local orga­nizing body for USA Vol­leyball, representing the Buffalo and Rochester region. D’Errico, who won four NCAA national championships at Penn State, helped put togeth­er a WEVA all-star team that will compete this weekend at the 14-team Women’s Premier Vol­leyball League Champi­onships in Phoenix. It’s being staged in conjunc­tion with the U.S Open. It’s third year that WE­VA has fielded a team.

“Step by step, it’s growing each year,” D’Errico said. “The first year only a few of the teams had sponsors, and now it has increased. It is getting to the point where sponsors are pay­ing for food, travel and lodging. The number of teams that are taking it more seriously is in­creasing. It’s going in the right direction to­ward a professional league.” “She wanted to repre­sent WEVA. We are proud of her efforts,” added Cindy D’Errico, Alyssa’s mom who cur­rently works in an ad­ministrative role with WEVA. “She trying to grow the sport. She is taking the time to recruit the athletes we have. It was a lot of work, but she wanted to play with the best.” The WEVA team is made of up of 15 players, all with résumés that in­clude high-level Division I experience. Many have played professionally overseas and some have played for Team USA in­ternationally, including Stanford grad Cynthia Barboza and Georgia Tech’s Monique Mead.

Eight of the players on the WEVA roster, includ­ing D’Errico, played to­gether in the PVL tourna­ment for the Indiana re­gional team. The WEVA team is coached by Pittsford Sutherland girls volley­ball coach Matt Glover. Glover also coaches in the club program with Vol­leyFX.

“I’m here this weekend to guide them,” Glover said. “They’re all used to high-level and interna­tional competition. I’m not going to teach them anything. I just want to help out them in a position to win.” Irondequoit graduate Mary Cushman, a former standout at Maryland and the 2010 All-Greater Rochester player of the year, will suit up for the Chesapeake regional team. The teams are compet­ing in a round robin for­mat beginning on Satur­day. The winning team will split $10,000. D’Errico is realistic about the fu­ture of professional vol­leyball in the United States, but she is excited about the chance to com­pete at a high level against some of the best. “I don’t think I’ll see the days when the profes­sional league is where I want it to be, but I want to help build it up and get people excited,” she said.

To drum up some local excitement and to give back to the area that fos­tered her talent, D’Errico and a few of her team­mates will conduct clinics on July 14 in Buffalo and July 15 in Rochester at the Main Street Armory.