In the midst of all the high flying blocks and hard hitting kills, there is one player that seems to go unnoticed.
Alexa Filley, a senior from Louisville, Kentucky, is quickly becoming a valuable centerpiece for Auburn’s volleyball team. As a well-respected setter, Filley had an impressive résumé way before her college career.
During her four years at Assumption High School, Filley was named 2013-14 Gatorade National Player of the Year, 2013-14 Under Armour Second-Team All-American, ranked 40th among PrepVolleyball.com's "Senior Aces” and ranked 20th among seniors nationally by Student Sports Volleyball.
Filley led Assumption High School, one of the top ranked teams in the country, to four straight Kentucky state titles and was MVP of the state tournament in 2012 and 2013. Although her accomplishments in high school are beyond elite, her presence as an Auburn Tiger is what truly sets her apart.
Filley may not be the one with all the kills or blocks, but her contributions can still be felt throughout a match. Filley is on pace to have over 4000 assists as she plays the last season of her Auburn career.
“I think of myself as the quarterback of volleyball. I get to run the offense, tell people where to go and have a lot of power on the court," Filley said. "I like to know the fact that I get to make an impact on every single play. To me, it’s all about being able to reach out to all of the players.”
In order to be the enabler and designated playmaker, a player needs to have much more than talent on the court. Filley’s leaderships skills are natural, and it’s easy for other teammates to follow, senior outside hitter Macy Reece said.
“She’s led our team to be who we are today,” Reece said. “She pushes us off the court and she definitely pushes us on the court. She gives us the opportunity to get our kills and our points.”
As a role model for younger teammates, her leadership extends to the future of Auburn’s volleyball team. Filley has high hopes of changing the atmosphere of Auburn volleyball.
“I just make sure [younger players] know we believe in them and that they have a lot of fun,” Filley said. “I want to make a cultural change. After our last season, we were disappointed. We were all going to come to this season ready to go.”
Her mindset and goals have influenced the team to improve this season. The Tigers hit 7-1 to kick off the year, the program’s best start since 2013. Her positive influence has been noticed by many, including head coach Rick Nold.
“I think the thing we’ve seen this year is the balance in our offense that we really like,” Nold said. “It starts with passing, and Alexa does a great job of getting everyone involved, including herself. When she is aggressive offensively, herself, it really puts the other team at a disadvantage.
"She’s got a lot of experience. When I look at the leadership she has provided this year, I think it has been a step up.”
Filley believes Auburn volleyball is something extraordinary, describing the team as a close knit and unique family.
“Auburn is just a really special place," Filley said. "Every single person that has come to our program is so special. I’ve had an amazing time here.”
To Filley, being a part of Auburn volleyball means more than just the title.
“Auburn volleyball is hard work and family," Filley said. "We go out there every game, ready to play. We have that Auburn spirit in every single thing we do.”