Athlete of the Week: Alyssa Nathan ’21

Volleyball continues to dominate Centennial Conference competition in 2018. With a 5-1 record in conference play, and a 12-4 record overall, the team is on pace to emulate its record (24-8, 8-2) from its 2017 NCAA Regional Championship effort. Crucial to the team’s success is Alyssa Nathan ’21, a setter from Wilmington, Delaware. Despite only playing 17 sets last season, Nathan has established herself as a key contributor in 2018, leading the Garnet in assists in all 16 of the team’s matches. In fact, her current total of 521 puts her on pace to finish third in the Swarthmore volleyball single-season record book for assists. Nathan and the rest of the Garnet return to action Oct. 13, with a double header against Johns Hopkins and Vassar at Tarble Pavilion.

Max Katz-Balmes: What is your major, and what led you to pursue that area of study?

Alyssa Nathan: Engineering and either a minor or major in art history. I am interested in pursuing architecture, so I thought that engineering would be a way to look at the physical and structural properties of architecture. After taking a few classes, I found I really liked it because it is so new and not like anything I’ve done before. I am pursuing art history because I really enjoy it, and it is an amazing department.

MKB: Why did you decide to attend Swarthmore?

AN: I decided to attend Swarthmore because of the academic rigor, the freedom to pursue interests in different areas of study, the opportunity to continue to play volleyball, and the close sense of community on campus.

MKB: When did you begin playing volleyball?

AN: I began playing volleyball in fifth grade.

MKB: Tell us a funny story from your experience as a Swarthmore volleyball player.

AN: I have so many funny stories I don’t know where to start. For example, before our latest game against Bryn Mawr yesterday, we had gotten to the gym early and spent about 15 minutes lying on the floor in a circle singing a cappella Disney songs and 2000s hits. It was hilarious.

MKB: What is your favorite aspect about playing volleyball at Swat?

AN: My favorite aspect about playing volleyball here is the level of competition and the determination of the team. I have always been a very competitive person, so it’s really great to be around more people like that and to have each and every person on the team dedicated and determined to getting better.

MKB: Describe the emotions you experienced during your unexpected run to the NCAA quarterfinals.

AN: Excited and happy are the two words that come to mind. I didn’t really get to play all that much last year, but it was really great to see all of our hard work on the court come together at the perfect time. Every win brought with it new experiences!

MKB: What are your personal and team goals for the season?

AN: My personal goal is just to become a more consistent, smart player in order to better the ball for my teammates. As a team we of course have our overall goals for the year, but, right now, we are just trying to think one game at a time and our next game is Hopkins so that’s a big one.

MKB: You are playing a lot more than last season. What changed and how does it feel to be in a different role this year?  

AN: This new role has definitely brought with it a lot more responsibility. Just given the nature of my position as a setter, I am involved in essentially every play which is a lot of responsibility, but I love playing and it’s just more fun to be on the court.

MKB: Do you have post-graduation plans?

AN: I’m only a sophomore, so I do not have any post-graduation plans as of now. Be happy and live life, that’s all I know now.

MKB: What is one thing that you would change about Swarthmore?

AN: I would change all of the new things going on with the meals because it’s getting a little ridiculous right now.

Max Katz-Balmes

Max '20 is from Berkeley, CA. Interested in pursuing a career in sustainable urban planning, Max has decided to double major in Environmental Studies and Economics. Apart from editing for The Phoenix, Max is a President's Sustainability Research Fellow, a member of the men's golf team, and a part of an environmental justice organization on campus called Serenity Soular. In his free time, Max enjoys playing basketball in the Fieldhouse and watching Love Island.

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