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.