Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
WHEELERSBURG — For as long as she lives, Alli McQuay will never forget how Wheelersburg’s crowd erupted after winning the final volleyball game of her career.
That day, on Nov. 2, 2019 at Logan High School, McQuay led her Pirates into battle with Berlin Hiland, a team that practically had them beat. But just when you thought the Pirates’ season had ended … well, you know the rest.
The five-set win over Hiland marked Wheelersburg’s first-ever regional title. It’s a moment that’s become cemented in McQuay’s memory bank.
“This season has been unforgettable. We set goals and did everything in our power to achieve them and we kept building off the achievements we were accomplishing,” McQuay said. “I’m so proud of how everyone always wanted to work hard and get better. Between 73 straight sets, the third straight district championship, and the first-ever regional championship and final four appearance, this team definitely left a mark on Wheelersburg history.”
As McQuay alluded to, the Pirates indeed changed the course of the school’s volleyball program while habitually rewriting chapters in the history books.
At one time, Wheelersburg had won a school record 73 straight sets before winning the regional title, just the second Scioto County team to ever claim that crown. The 27 wins the Pirates earned were the most in a single season and, of course, McQuay was a central part of it all.
On the year, she was the SOC II’s Player of the Year, the District 14 Player of the Year and a first-team All-Ohioan. She logged 254 kills, 42 aces, 38 blocks and 204 digs.
Those numbers and her overall play in general are why she’s been selected as SOSA’s Volleyball Player of the Year.
But the individual accomplishments have never mattered to McQuay. She’s always had the bigger picture in mind.
“I honesty did not see any of those awards coming my way. Anyone that knows me, knows that I critique everything I do. There is never a time I’m fully satisfied with how I perform, so it was a huge surprise when I received the awards,” McQuay said. “Yes, it’s cool to be SOC and District POY and named first team All-Ohio but those weren’t ever my goals. I have always strived to help out the team as much as I possibly could. If I could be the best, then that would make my team just that much better. In the end, it’s never been about how good I am, it’s always been how good we are together as a team.”
Throughout her four-year tenure, one of those teammates McQuay raves about has been her partner in crime Mallory Bergan. Together, the duo has led the Pirates to four consecutive conference titles, three straight district championships and an overall record of 96-10.
“There is not another person I would have rather spent the last four years with than Mallory. She’s been my best friend since second grade and we were able to carry that relationship on the court with us,” McQuay said. “We have a really special bond and that helped us with our game play. I think that this team had an incredible bond because it all rooted with Mal and I. We love to have fun and are always doing goofy things so that helped everyone else to have a good time, too. I could never thank Mal enough for going on this crazy ride with me and being my best friend through it all.”
McQuay’s time as a Pirate has reached its conclusion. But her time as a volleyball player will continue at the next level.
Next fall, she’ll suit up for Shawnee State University to try and help the Bears earn a similar type of success she’s always enjoyed.
But make no mistake about it … she’ll leave a pair of humongous shoes to fill at Wheelersburg.
“I think the legacy I leave is that’s it’s more valuable to fulfill a role on a team to the best of your ability than it is to be an outstanding player,” McQuay said. “Your team is what’s going to take you far in the long run. I’m super excited and thankful to get four more years of volleyball at the next level.”