Freshman Ali Hinze looks back on her stellar Summit League Freshman Of The Year campaign.
You were able to succeed to the point of winning the Summit League’s Freshman of the Year award. How were you able to transition so seamlessly to the college game from high school?
My club MN Select did a really good job preparing me for the type of play that happens at the college level. The biggest challenge I had on the switch was time management. I never realized how much volleyball would take over my life, so having time to work on my studies and doing all the other side things a student-athlete has to do was the hardest part for me.
Now that you have had some time to think since the season concluded, how do you reflect on all that you accomplished in just your first year in Fargo?
Coming in as a freshman and having teammates and coaches excited to see me play right away was a big thing for me. Seeing that my coaches and teammates trusted me made me have the confidence in myself to go out and play every day the way I know I can. Year one wasn’t easy at times, but always knowing that my volleyball family had my back was one of the best feelings.
The Summit League was full of great freshmen this season, but you were named the best of that group. How do you feel knowing you beat out other great freshmen for the award?
There are so many talented freshmen out there in the Summit League including Taylor Quan and Alex Lyle whom I live with. To be selected for this award was such a huge honor. There is no way I could’ve gotten this award without my teammates, coaches, Melissa, Nicki, Jason and even NDSU athletics for giving me this opportunity. It truly is just all a blessing.
This program has plenty of youth within it and these younger players are the future of Bison volleyball. How excited are you about the prospect of sharing the court with these girls for another three seasons?
The other freshman and sophomores on this team are awesome. We’ve all become so close together on and off the court. To know that every single person on this team has each other’s back is what really stands out to me. Every single one of them is truly amazing and I couldn’t ask for better teammates.
Given your success in year one, how do you go about defining what you want to accomplish in the future? How do you and the team move forward into the offseason?
My future goal for our team is always to win the conference and get a chance to play in the NCAA tournament. We had close games with just about all the top teams this year but fell a little short each time. We need to fine-tune a few areas to make sure we are competitive and able to win those matches next year. I want to improve my all- around game but really focus on my hand contact and blocking. Another big goal I want to work towards is my leadership skills and having a bigger voice on and off the court.
Hometown: Maple Grove, Minn.
2020 Summit League Freshman Of The Year