Bell, team poised for breakout season

When Allison Bell joined Oakland University’s volleyball team, she was a middle hitter who was timid on the court. Today, she is a key part of the team looking for a Summit League title.

Bell arrived to OU in the fall of 2008 from Marion, Iowa, after a high school career which included all-state honors as a senior.

She takes pride in being one of the earliest players, along senior Jenna Lange and junior Ashleigh Slemmer, to be recruited by Rob Beam since he became OU’s head coach.

Bell has seen the Grizzlies improve from eight wins as a freshman to 17 as a junior.

“Ashleigh, Jenna and I have been here since the beginning of Rob’s career here at OU and it has been awesome to watch the program grow and be a part of it,” Bell said.

Every season, Bell has improved in kills, hitting percentage, blocks and digs. She credits her coaches for always pushing her.

“Allison has progressed so much since our freshman year,” Lange said. “When she came in, she was timid and now she is one of our hardest hitters and capitalizes on important points when we need her.”

As of OU’s win over UMKC, Bell ranks second on the team in kills per set and hitting percentage and leads in service aces.

However, according to Lange, this does not tell the whole story of Bell’s value to the team. Bell is in her second season as a right side hitter after spending her first two as a middle hitter.

“Allison is a very important part of our team because of how versatile she is,” Lange said. “She’s not only able to play well on the right side, but when we need her to hit quick sets in other positions, she adapts well.”

According to teammates, calmness and composure are other attributes Bell has.Junior Alli Kirk agrees that Bell acts as the “voice of reason” on the team and helps keep everyone calm on the court.

“What impresses me most about Allison is how level headed she is on the court and in everyday life,” Kirk said.

This season has been special for Bell, not only because she is a senior, but also because she was able to play in her home state for the first time of her collegiate career.

During the Hawkeye Challenge last month, Bell elevated her play recording her first career 20-kill match against Loyola.  She followed that with a career-high 21 kills against Iowa the next night and was named to the all-tournament team.

Bell described playing in the tournament as “very special”.

“I am so happy that some family and friends from home who had never seen me play got a chance to,” Bell said.

As memorable as Bell’s season has already been, Kirk wants to help make this season even more special for her.

“I think that every day I really want to play for Allison and the whole senior class because they have all been working so hard for so long,” Kirk said. “They deserve to experience going to the Summit League tournament and they deserve to win a Championship ring.”