PURCHASE, N.Y. -- Manhattanville College volleyball coach Amanda Alayon needed a few more players during her first year when a softball coach came through with a suggestion.
Alyssa Casino, a Maria Regina graduate and Rye Brook resident, joined the team mid-way through the 2012 season and had an effect. It was only the beginning as Casino, a sophomore, has become an impact player.
“Even though Alyssa was only with us for half of the fall season, I saw something in her that coaches don’t see in a lot of girls in their careers,” said Alayon, a stand-out defensive specialist during her college career at Fairleigh Dickinson University. “Alyssa has that natural instinct of an athlete. Alyssa is one of the hardest workers I know. That alone led me to believe she would produce nothing but great things for us this fall.”
Alayon’s intuition was correct. Casino, the libero, has played in all 65 games this season and leads the team with 304 digs. A libero is a defensive specialist. Her defensive prowess allows Manhattanville to run its offense after Casino digs up an opponent’s serve or hit.
Alayon said Casino enjoys her position, which has allowed her to flourish in her first full year starting.
“As a libero, you have to be quick and aggressive,” Alayon said. “Alyssa is one of the most determined players I’ve had the pleasure of coaching. All summer long Alyssa was in the weight room at school doing the summer lifting workouts. Alyssa is always giving 110 percent in every drill, spring, practice and match.”
Casino’s determined work ethic also exemplifies itself in the classroom. Alayon cited Casino’s 4.0 grade-point-average as a freshman.
“Alyssa’s maturity and knowledge translates to the way she plays on the court,” Alayon said. “She picks up things defensively, faster than anyone else, and has the ability to stay calm in pressure situations due to her level of maturity.”
Casino has been quite an addition for Alayon and the best aspect of it is that Casino has two more years with the team.