By Ashley Dunn
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Upon transferring to Baylor prior to the 2011 volleyball season, senior Alyssa Dibbern found adjusting to life at a Big 12 University to be more difficult than she had expected. With the help of head coach Jim Barnes, teammates like Kate Harris and a renewed faith, Dibbern soon realized just how vital of a role she plays on this Baylor volleyball team.
Dibbern spent two years at San Jacinto Junior College where she earned a multitude of honors including being named a two-time All-American and 2010 NJCAA Most Valuable Player.
Barnes and the rest of the Baylor coaching staff convinced Dibbern that Baylor was where she needed to be in order to grow as an individual and a player.
"I could not believe I was getting the opportunity to play for a huge Division I team," Dibbern said. "I also found out it was a private, Christian school and thought 'How much better could this get?'"
Dibbern saw action in 29 games during 2011, but only 14 of those were starts. Dibbern's confidence took a heavy hit and she quickly realized that she wanted something different for her senior season.
"She put in the work to have the kind of senior year she is having," Barnes said.
It was this extra dedication, which included intense spring training and foregoing her summer holiday, that helped Dibbern regain her confidence.
"My mentality has really improved. Last year I felt like I could not do anything right, Dibbern said. "Even if it was a really good play, I could find something I could tear myself up about. Over break, I prayed about it and now I try to think positively about everything. That has been a huge difference maker."
"Her mindset has been awesome this year," Harris said. "She is really focused and is letting her mistakes go much better this year."
Dibbern and Harris were both transfer athletes and this helped their relationship grow into a quick and loyal friendship.
Along with her improved mentality on the court, Dibbern has also focused on her relationship with Christ. Harris has been one of Dibbern's biggest support system.
"Kate is the one who ultimately helped me through my struggle last year," Dibbern said. "She was there for me when I needed someone to talk to."
Dibbern has also really stepped up as a leader in the 2012 season.
"She is one of our best players and she is one of our best leaders at the same time," Barnes. "That is the kind of player that a coach wants."
As a senior, Dibbern recognizes her role on the team.
"I am more of a lead by example type," Dibbern said. "I feel like that is my purpose on this team."
"She has a great spirit about her," Barnes said. "She is a very caring person and I think that is why her teammates love her so much."
So far, Dibbern is the kill leader for Baylor this season.
"On the court, she is one of the girls that can put the ball away for us," Barnes said. "She is one of the players that can help us play at the Big 12 level."
After graduation, Dibbern plans on pursuing a career in marine biology with the hopes of also competing in sand volleyball.
"I am going to try to move to the coast and work with the ocean and pursue a beach volleyball career," said Dibbern. "That is my hope."
Harris would also like to join her best friend on this journey.
"Our dream since we were little has been to play sand volleyball in the Olympics," Harris said. "I just love that girl. It has been a blessing to see her grow and to be able to grow with her."
Most importantly, Dibbern is confident that the Lord will lead her down the right path and that is what drives her day-to-day decisions.
"God has shown me that I cannot do anything without Him, especially volleyball."