Leave it all on the court

Senior defensive specialist libero serves her team



Alexis Dirige stands with her team as the WSU band plays the national anthem before the Cougars upset the University of Washington Huskies on Sept. 25 at Bohler Gym.

RYAN ROOT, Evergreen reporter

As senior defensive specialist libero Alexis Dirige finishes her time at WSU, she strives to pass on her heart for volleyball to the up and coming players.

From a young age, Alexis has always been fascinated with the game of volleyball. She played in her first club volleyball game when she was 7 years old. Before then, she was known as the team’s mascot, her sister  according to her sisters Bianca Dirige said.

“That has been what’s given me such a good volleyball IQ because I’ve been watching volleyball since I was 6 years old and always having a volleyball in my hand at my sisters’ tournaments,” Alexis said.

 Bianca said she witnessed Alexis’ passion for volleyball firsthand. As Bianca looks back now, she recalls Alexis always having competition and support in volleyball.

“I think she is definitely a leader and she wants to encourage [her teammates] to play their hearts out” Bianca said.

Alexis’ mindset this season has been to connect the players not only as a team, but as a close-knit family. Current freshman liberos Julia Norville and Aria McComber are ready to take her place next year and Alexis took them under her wing to not only learn from the game, but to feed off the competition.

“I try and teach them a lot in practice and teach them the new skills they need to know for this level,” Alexis said.

WSU Volleyball Coach Jen Greeny says even with Alexis’ stability within her position, she continuously looks to improve for herself and every player on the team.

“This year, she is definitely the vocal leader of the team and [she] is not only focused on her position, but everyone else around her,” coach Greeny said.

Alexis started for the team as a freshman in 2016 after previous libero Kate Sommer graduated. Greeny said this was a rare feat for the Pac-12 and Alexis proved her talents in every way to become the starter.

“Even by her numbers you can tell that she has helped our team be successful and get back to the NCAA tournament,” Greeny said.

During her sophomore year, Alexis broke records for most digs in a three-set match and shortest number of of sets to obtain 1,000 career digs. This has Alexis on track to break the all-time digs record for WSU this season. This accomplishment will set the bar high for future players, Greeny said.

Apart from statistics, she received notable accolades as well. From being a part of the 2018 National Collegiate Volleyball team and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament last season, though she said she tries not to get caught up in the statistics.

“I think it’s important to stay steady and enjoy those accomplishments,” Alexis said, “that doesn’t change what I need to do.”

Alexis plans to graduate this fall with an undergraduate degree in psychology, but she will then attend Concordia University in the spring to obtain her master’s degree in counseling and join their beach volleyball team.

She says she’ll miss her teammates and the hardworking atmosphere the most. She will consider coaching volleyball in the future, Alexis said.

“I’m hoping she can take what she’s learned from all these years playing volleyball and being on a team and encouraging other people and I hope she can take that into her career as a psychologist,” Bianca said.