August 13, 2021 – By NJP

The Our Lady of Mercy Academy girl’s high school volleyball team had their first winning season in five years, powering to an 11-6 record, and a state sectional semi-final appearance. One of the big reasons for the resurgence was the play of outside hitter and middle Alice Cawley who led the teams in blocks and aces while contributing 67 kills in the short spring season. As Alice enters her senior year, she has high hopes for the Villager’s to maintain their winning ways and get a couple of wins further in their journey for a sectional title.

Our Lady of Mercy Academy’s Alice Cawley

The 5’10” Cawley has had solid experience at the club level for EVA, and it shows. She won first team all-conference honors as a junior. She has great instincts at the net and a solid, gliding approach from the pins where she gets height and power on her kills. Her passing skills and serve receive was outstanding during the spring season.

Alice is the complete package and is expected to be highly recruited by colleges for the Fall 2022 class. The National Honor Society student has maintained a 4.5 GPA academically, in addition to her athletic capabilities on the volleyball court.

One of Cawley’s hallmarks has been her success on the service line. Alice finished in the top 10 in service aces this Spring in all of New Jersey. Let’s put that in perspective. We have 2,982 varsity high school girls in our database for the spring season. Cawley finished with more aces than 2,974. The 99.7th percentile. Not too shabby for a junior.

NJP’s preseason report has OLMA right behind Cedar Creek for top honors in the CAL-West. It should be a fun season for the Villager’s and certainly a great experience for their seniors, including Alice. It will be an opportunity for her to show off her talent at both the high school and club level and lay the groundwork for continued play at the collegiate level.

Her is our interview with Ms. Cawley…

Hello Alice? Thanks for joining the NJP player interview club. Tell us a bit about yourself?

Hi! My name is Alice Cawley, and I attend Our Lady of Mercy Academy with the graduating class of 2022. I live in Vineland with my mom and dad. 

How long have you played volleyball and what inspired you to take up volleyball initially?

I have been playing volleyball for 5 years now. I started playing in 7th grade for my small middle school team. My mom has always encouraged me to play volleyball, since she was a volleyball player herself.  On day one of practice, I immediately fell in love with the sport. 

What are your metrics/details? Height, vertical, position, club team, etc. What is your favorite position to play?

I am a 5’10” outside hitter and middle blocker (although, I play a little bit of everything). I play at Eastern Volleyball Academy in Glassboro. My favorite position to play is definitely outside because you get to play offense as well as defense. I love playing both, so the outside is my favorite position to play. 

Our Lady of Mercy

Tell us about your Villager teammates. Who do you expect to be this year’s standout players in the Fall?

I am so excited to play with my teammates in the Fall! I believe this will be one of the best seasons for OLMA volleyball yet! This year I definitely expect our senior setter, Ava Barrasso, our senior libero, Ivy Jaep, and our other sophomore setter, Lara Barrasso, to be standouts. I know all three will play great this season and will help OLMA volleyball get to another state final tournament. All my OLMA teammates are amazing, and I cannot wait to see what is in store for us this upcoming Fall season. 

NJP considers you as one of the top players in the state. Do you plan on playing in college? (If so, which ones are you looking at? What do you plan to study in college or what is your career path?)

I am definitely considering playing at the college level. I have been visiting some colleges this summer, and I am keeping my options open. But some schools I have really liked are St. Joseph’s University, Catholic University of America, New York University, and Villanova University. I plan to major in International Business and minor in Spanish. 

You had a solid junior campaign this Spring showing your versatility by leading the team in blocks and aces, second on the team in kills and assists, and third on the team in digs. Where do you expect to slot in this Fall? Middle or OH?

My junior season was one my best and favorite high school seasons yet. Our team last year had such a great dynamic, and I could not have done it without them. I am very happy with all my achievements from last season, but I am always looking to improve as a player and teammate. My goal for my senior season is to double my stats and lead the team in kills, blocks, and aces. This season I will most likely be playing outside. Although, I am open to playing either. I will play any position that my coach believes will benefit the team most. 

OLMA had a great Spring finishing 11-6 and getting to the sectional semi-final. How tough was the upset loss to Rutgers Prep?

Our 2020 season was one of the best in OLMA volleyball history, and we were very proud to make it to the semi-final. It was a very tough loss against Rutgers Prep. Unfortunately, we were not playing our best brand of volleyball that day. That loss was tough on us as a team, but it fuels us to have an even better season this year and win that semi-final game. Hopefully, this year we can make it to the final and come away victorious.

Eastern Volleyball Academy Girls | ConnectVolleyball

Tell us about your club experience at EVA?

I love playing for EVA! My first year at EVA was my 15’s year where I was a practice player. The following year I played on 16 Avery, and by far it was my favorite club season. I made so many great volleyball memories, and I got close with each of my teammates. That year, we came in second at the MLK tournament in the sapphire bracket and we went undefeated on day 2 of the Boston Mizuno Festival where we were placed in the gold bracket. I also loved my 17’s club season this year. I had amazing teammates that challenged me everyday to become a better player. Also, my coaches, Coach Avery and Coach Schroeder, are awesome. All of the coaches at EVA are amazing, and I owe them a lot because they shaped me into the player I am today. 

What qualities make a teammate a good team captain?

Some qualities I believe that makes a teammate a good captain are if they are hardworking, encouraging, energetic, positive, and passionate. 

Both your setter and libero will join you as returning varsity seniors. Tell us about this trilogy and your relationship both on and off the court with Ava and Ivy.

Ava and Ivy are my best friends on and off the court. Ava, Ivy, and I have been playing together since freshman year. I have known Ivy since I was 4 years old, and we have been friends ever since. I met Ava freshman year at the OLMA volleyball camp, and we became instant friends. Our energy on the court is unmatched and I love playing with them. They challenge me to become a better player every day. We have a great dynamic on the court, and I can’t wait to see what we do our senior season. 

Tell us about the coaches or mentors that have positively influenced your volleyball career…

My first volleyball mentor was my mom. She is the reason why I am playing volleyball today, and she helped grow my passion for the sport. My first club coaches, Kate Patterson and Sam Bevilacqua, made my first club season amazing. I saw so much improvement over only one season. They are some of the most passionate and energetic coaches I know. My other club coaches, Mark Avery and Kevin Schroeder, have all shaped me into the player and person I am today. They both have helped me improve my game, and whenever I get down on myself, they are always there to pick me up and tell me to shake it off. They are both very passionate about the game, and their positive energy always inspires me. Also, my high school coaches, Kate Patterson and Emma Patterson, are the best. Not only have they helped me grow, but they have made the OLMA volleyball program the best one the school has ever seen. They are always cheering me on and I love having them as my coaches. I owe all of my coaches throughout the years so much! I just wanted to say thank you to all of them, because without them I would not be where I am today.

How does athletics make you a better student or worker?

Athletics definitely shapes you into a better student and worker. Volleyball has made me a better student and worker because it has taught me about discipline, time management, and organization. All of these factors help you succeed not only on the court, but in the classroom and workforce. 

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