The Valparaiso University women’s tennis program has announced its latest addition as Allison McConnell (Westland, Mich. / Churchill) has signed her National Letter of Intent to join the team for the 2020-2021 academic and athletic year.
“One key factor in adding Allison to our program is that we have great team chemistry right now, and I want to make sure we keep that,” Valpo head coach Bob Modesto said. “On her visit, Allison fit well with the team. Another important attribute is her work ethic. We have a group that is working diligently to improve each day, and Allison also brings a work ethic to the table. She’s committed to conditioning, hitting and doing the extra things to help make us a better team.”
During her prep career, McConnell earned all-state accolades following her freshman and junior seasons. She was a three-time scholar-athlete recipient and was a nominee for the Detroit Free Press Girls Tennis Player of the Year as a sophomore. The team’s co-MVP as a freshman and sophomore, McConnell earned the team MVP honor outright during her junior campaign. She has also participated in the USTA Team Cup, an annual event that is like college tennis for junior players.
“The dynamic of our team at Valpo played a vital role in my decision,” McConnell said. “Everyone gets along great. I like the feel of the city; it’s such a college town with a beautiful downtown. Everyone was extremely positive on my visit and I could tell the girls were very supportive of one another. They’re all working hard but having fun, which is extremely important.”
The moment where the dream of playing Division-I tennis became a reality for McConnell was an emotional one.
“When Coach Modesto called me and told me he was offering me a spot on the team, I started sobbing,” McConnell said. “At my signing day, having everyone there who helped me get to this point also made me emotional. Reaching this level after a long journey is surreal. I’d like to thank my parents Mark and Sherry for all of their support. I’m excited to start a new journey at Valpo.”
This marks the first student-athlete signed by Modesto, who is in his first season as a collegiate head coach.
“It’s outstanding to be on this side of the table,” Modesto said. “I’ve been on the other side with all three of my daughters signing to play Division-I tennis. All of my daughters were pretty emotional and in tears when they made their decision, and Allison was the same. I was happy to be able to be the person to make her that offer.”
McConnell is also a member of Churchill High School’s swim team, where she was Rookie of the Year, a two-time state qualifier and broke a school record in the 200-medley relay.
“More than anything, her conditioning and work ethic stand out,” Modesto said. “I’m always looking for players who are willing to stay out on the court and hit that extra ball instead of trying to finish points early, and she fits that mold. I am so excited and happy that we were able to get this done for this signing period. I’m eager to welcome her as part of the Valpo family.”