• Athletics
Big Red Sports Network Profile: Allison Zhu ‘23

By Sophia Bonilla ‘24

Big Red Sports Reporter Sophia Bonilla ’24 met recently with Allison Zhu ’23, captain of Lawrenceville’s volleyball team, to learn more about this student-athlete.

Sophia Bonilla: When did you start playing volleyball?

Allison Zhu: I started playing volleyball for my school in fourth grade, it was just intramural volleyball. I did that in fourth and fifth grade and then in sixth grade I, just on a whim, went to a club volleyball tryout and got it. Then I just kept doing club for the next couple years until I got to Lawrenceville. And I guess, here we are. It’s been like eight years now? And a lot of sports have come and gone but volleyball’s the only one that’s kind of stuck.

SB: What position do you play? 

AZ: I play the libero. For those who don’t know, I’m the one on the court with the different colored jersey. And that’s essentially just a person who specializes in defense. I don’t particularly have the height to play offense for volleyball, so short people like me are usually better playing defense in the back. The liberos are meant to receive all the balls from the opponent’s side and set up the play we want to see in our offense.

SB: What do you enjoy most about your sport? 

AZ: Game days. When I used to play club, tournaments were always so time consuming for everybody involved but they were so fun, I always went to really cool, really far away places to go play. And at Lawrenceville, I think the practices aren’t something that most people would be super excited about, but I think the game days make it a lot more worthwhile; it’s just an opportunity to put everything we’ve been learning forward and be able to be a team and represent Lawrenceville.

SB: Do you have any role models for your sport? 

AZ: I live in the Bay Area and I’m pretty close to Stanford, so throughout my middle school years my club and my school would sometimes buy tickets to see Stanford volleyball games and we’d all go as a team and just fawn over these huge–like 6’5”–Stanford volleyball players. This Stanford volleyball player that I watched was Morgan Hentz and she is amazing - every libero’s idol.

SB: What does it mean to you to be a team captain? 

AZ: I guess a captain is just an added role of leadership on the team. In volleyball, it’s really important that everyone supports each other, because volleyball is very psychological and it’s very easy to get into your head. Captains are just there to make sure that the whole team is there and ready to perform. It’s something that everyone does, even if you’re not a captain, but I guess they’re like an added support and an added leader on the court.

SB: Are there any games that you are especially looking forward to? 

AZ: Last year we played Hopewell Valley, who we lost to very barely, like 26 to 24 in the third set, and it was a very very heartbreaking game. It was super exciting to play there and everyone was playing their best and everyone was working together, like the best we had all season, and it was just super exciting. It was really disappointing to lose. We’re playing them again soon [Sept. 24, home, 4 p.m.] and I hope we pull it together this time around.

SB: Any personal or team goals for the season? 

AZ: I could say that I really, really want our team to be really close and bonded, just because it’s so important in an actual game for us to work well together and have chemistry on the court. I really want to ensure that we’re all friends and we all know each other well off the court. As for personal goals, I think I’ve gotten very comfortable in my position, like where I stand and what I do, so this season I think the coaches have some plans to switch some people around and where they’re on the court. I’m really excited to get the chance to adapt to something new because I played in the same spot for years and years now so that’s a personal goal of mine.

SB: Is there anything you would like to add? 

AZ: Nope– *laughs* come to our games!

The next home game for Big Red volleyball will be Sept. 22, 5:15 p.m. vs. Princeton High School. 

For additional information, contact Lisa M. Gillard H'17, director of public relations, at lgillard@lawrenceville.org.