Alisha talks about ... being Alisha
“My next goal is 2016 and Rio,” said the 24-year-old volleyball setter who was an alternate for the 2012 team that took home a silver medal in London earlier this month. “Check me out! I’ll be there.”
Glass, a former Penn State All-American, watched this year’s Olympics at home moments after helping a U.S. team win the FIVB World Grand Prix in Mexico and qualify for the 2013 Grand Prix.
“It was tough because everybody had mixed feelings about being there,” Glass said. “We had just gotten the results from the Olympic trials and it was the end of the summer for some people.
The U.S. team had a loss in pool play to Cuba, but it was the only blemish.
“We were having fun and being silly with each other, but on the court we were very professional,” she said. “We realized there were high stakes and we wanted to be in the Grand Prix next year.”
The U.S. team’s arrival in Mexico was greeted with outcries, however, as a result of seven U.S. women’s volleyball players appearing semi-nude in ESPN The Magazine: Bodies We Want 2012.
While parents of young volleyballers criticized the women’s portraits, Glass said she had no problem doing both group and individual shots.
“It’s athletes showcasing their bodies that they sacrifice for their sport. And we’re all different body types.”
Glass, who was not paid for posing, said athletes are only eligible to appear in the magazine once.
“I thought it was an important thing to do and it was with a great group of girls,” Glass said. “We had fun together.”
Glass said she was surprised with the different reactions.
“I think it surprised a lot of people and it’s controversial, but I knew that going in,” she said. “And the people that love me and support me ... they thought it was awesome.
“So I’m happy with that.”
In looking back at the Olympic Trials, Glass said she gave it her best shot.
“I have no regrets, I laid it all out there and thought I did OK,” Glass said. “You put it all out there and you hope that that’s going to be enough.”
Glass said she knew coach Hugh McCutcheon could go in one direction or another in his team’s selection.
“It was clear from the get-go that if we went in this direction, it would probably be me and if we went in this other direction, it would not,” Glass said. “That made it a lot easier to understand.
“It’s still heart-breaking because you want to be in the Olympics.”
Glass said losing the gold medal game in London to Brazil for the second straight Olympics was also a heart-wrenching.
“I’m proud of them and it’s great to get a medal,” she said. “But I think the players were a little heart-broken that they didn’t get the gold medal.
“We were favored and put ourselves in the best position to get a gold, but you can never underestimate Brazil.”
Glass said Brazil is a strong team, with great depth and it showed in rallying from a 25-11 first set loss, to win 25-17, 25-20, 25-17.
“They are true competitors when the game’s on the line,” she said. “They might let you beat them some other time, but in the Olympics they’ve shown they know how to win them.”
Glass, who made the U.S. Women’s Volleyball Team in 2011, said playing for the U.S. team prior to the Olympics helped her a lot.
“I’m excited to be one of the ones that have done it and has the experience,” she said. “It went by so fast.”
And going through an Olympic Trial will improve her chances of making the 2016 Olympic team.
“We’re going to lose a lot of older players,” she said. “The team is going to look a lot different.”
While the U.S. team gets a new coach and regroups for future competitions, Glass will be playing professionally in Italy next month with former Penn State teammate and 2012 Olympian Christa Harmotto.
Glass, who had her longest stay at home since graduating from Leland in 2006, enjoyed her summer with her mom, Laurie, and family and friends.
“I wasn’t rushing to do things because I knew I had time to see all the people that I wanted to see,” she said. “I love this place.”
Glass also spent some time in the gym helping prepare the Leland volleyball team, especially the setters, for the season that started last week.
“I think it’s great to be a part of it and see the process and help out in any way that I can,” she said. “It’s been cool.”
Leland’s junior varsity volleyball coach Beth Osorio thought so, too.
“Alisha is such a good kid,” said Osorio, who has known Glass since she was a baby. “Even with all the success that she’s had, her being is still as sweet as it always was.
“She’s humble and how many other national champs do you see in gyms working with high school kids?”
Osorio said the kids appreciate it, too.
“Alisha has been here a couple of weeks and she gives her time and knowledge and the kids absolutely adore her.”