From Kansas to Fresno, McKee Tells All
Oct. 2, 2007
FRESNO, Calif. - From Goodland, Kans., to Fresno, Calif., senior outside hitter Alisha McKee tells all about her fours years with Fresno State volleyball. Things were different when McKee first signed: the gym, coaching staff and players. Now as the 2007 season is under way, she is the only four-year senior on the team but knows that this year is different in a good way.
With all of her family still in the Midwest, and her older sister Angie having played volleyball at Kansas State in the mid-90's, it was a big leap of faith for McKee to travel all the way to Fresno to play volleyball and go to school.
"I got a lot of other offers and I really just wanted to go experience something totally different from the Midwest," said McKee. "I really liked Fresno State. I loved the coaching staff and the campus and what it had to offer, yet it still reminded me of home with the agricultural area."
"A lot of girls talk about how homesick they get and I think because I am so far away from home and I knew that I couldn't go back all the time it wasn't as big of an adjustment for me. My freshman year was hard, but every year it seems to get a lot easier. Now that I can see the end of the road where I am almost done with school and almost done with the season it has been a lot easier."
The second road-trip of the 2007 season was bittersweet for McKee. The Bulldogs traveled to Manhattan, Kans., to compete in the Varney's Kansas State Invitational. Many family members made the several-hour trip from Goodland to watch her play collegiate ball for the first time, the same gym in which her sister played more than 10 years ago. The only sibling not able to attend was her brother, who is currently working in Australia.
"Going back to Kansas and having all my relatives see me play has been, by far, the biggest highlight for me this season," McKee added. "I miss my family very much and it was really great to see all of them. I definitely had the cutest fan club with my niece and four nephews there cheering me on!"
Fresno State gave the McKee family something to cheer about in Kansas as it pulled of the biggest comeback in school history over Arkansas. The Lady Razorbacks were up 2-0 when the Bulldogs took the last three games and the match, to finish third in the tournament.
"With the Arkansas win, I think it showed how much heart our team really has, and how much we really do love the game."
The Arkansas win was the team's second on the year. They also beat UC Davis at the Save Mart Center. The Bulldogs already played some tough teams in the pre-season in No. 22 Kansas State, No 8 Washington and Northern Iowa, who received votes in one AVCA poll this season.
"I feel like we have fought hard to win but the outcome hasn't always been in our favor."
McKee is the only four-year senior on this year's team, but is also joined by senior-transfers Tiffany Hess and Angela Wiggins. Hess, from Murrieta, Calif., transferred from Irvine Valley College, and Wiggins transferred from Tulane, but hails from Colorado. McKee and Wiggins played club ball together in high school.
"The three of us are pretty close," said McKee. "Angie and I have known each other for quite a while and when Tiffany came and she was definitely accepted by everyone, especially Angie and I. We are a pretty tight-knit senior group."
Those three seniors are the only returning upperclassmen on the 2007 team, as the Bulldogs brought in 10 newcomers, eight of them freshmen. It will be their job to help break all of the newcomers into the program.
"Since I'm a senior it's my job to show all the newcomers the ropes and lead them in the right direction. I will be pushing them to work hard and teach them that good things will come out of it. We have some really good girls that came in and everyone is really excited."
The 2007 season will be the first complete year of play in the Save Mart Center and McKee is only one of the few on the team that remembers playing in the North Gym.
"It's fun to play in the Save Mart Center but it is so big. We used to pack the North Gym my freshman year and it was so loud and I just loved it. "
With a major in marketing and having experience working in the Fresno State marketing department last year, McKee looks forward to seeing where that will take her in life after Bulldog volleyball.
"Right when I graduate I plan on visiting my brother for a month or two who is in Australia for a year. When I come back I'll probably apply for some internships and see what happens. I have always wanted to coach volleyball but it was fun working with the Fresno State marketing department. I could possibly see myself doing that someday."
Besides volleyball and school, this past summer McKee ventured into the world of modeling with a local magazine, Covers.
"There is a new magazine that just got started, Covers Magazine, and I am featured in that. I'm called one of the `undercover girls,' I was one of 10 that were picked across California. It's not something I've done before. People have always told me I should but I never wanted to do that, I just wanted to play sports. It was so much fun. The first issue just came out and people can find it around town and then there will be issues coming out throughout the year. We will see if I can fit the whole modeling, volleyball and school thing together."
The modeling was the easy the part, it was figuring out how to tell her teammates what she was doing outside of volleyball that was tough to keep on the back burner.
"I didn't really tell the girls about it for the longest time," said McKee. "A few of them saw me after I got done with the shoot and they wanted to know why I was all dressed up and why my makeup and hair were all done. I tried to keep it on the down-low from there but then they saw the magazine. The girls have been very supportive though."
"Join the State - Fresno State!" - The Fresno State Volleyball team's next match is Thursday, October 4th against Boise State at 7 p.m. in the Save Mart Center. Be sure to bring your camera for Picture Day to get your picture with your favorite Fresno State volleyball players on the court after the game. Tickets can be purchased through the Save Mart Center Box Office, by phone at (559)485-TIXS, or online at Ticketmaster.com.