by Brandon Rebboah
SANTA CLARA, Calif.- With the season opening in a couple days, setter Alexandra Palmer and the rest of the Santa Clara volleyball team has spent their two-week preseason in full force. As an upperclassman Palmer is excited for her expanded role as a leader and has set high standards for herself and her teammates. The junior setter has shaken off past injuries and is ready for the season to begin.
Palmer and the Broncos play in four preseason tournaments leading up to their West Coast Conference opener against San Diego on Sept. 24. Palmer has eyed the preseason tournaments, including the first at Seattle University, as a perfect opportunity to gear up for league play. In addition to the Seattle University tournament and their own tournament, the Broncos will play in Utah Valley State's tournament and the University of Texas Tournament.
"[We want] to win the WCC and make it far in the tournament," said Palmer. "I want to go into every preseason tournament and win. I think that will really help us going into conference because we have such a tough conference."
After struggling with injuries last season, Palmer is now healthy and eying to excel on the court. The Laguna Beach native turned her injuries into a positive, citing they helped her grow as a player.
"It feels great to be healthy," said Palmer. I was never injured until college. It was a really humbling experience and made me work really hard to get healthy and get back on the court."
Last season Palmer played in 68 sets, totaling career-bests in assists (165) and digs (59). This year she has set her personal standards even higher.
"I like to [aim to] be an All-American," said the junior. "[Coach Wallace] has given us different statistics on how they choose their All-Americans and I'd like to push for those goals this season."
However, Palmer's main focus is the team and she's taken well to her increased role as a team leader. As an upperclassmen, Palmer has spent the off-season helping younger teammates play to their optimal potential.
"My leadership role has changed [since last season], " said Palmer. " I'm more of a leader on the court. I think a lot of the younger girls will look up to upperclassmen. I've told them to relax and have fun, not to stress about making a spot. If they relax and play their game they're going to be on the court."