Aliyah Carter: Kansas State Volleyball Star is Determined to Reach the Olympics

Aliyah Carter #2 Kansas State (Credit: Kansas Media)

Carter’s tough decision soccer or volleyball

YMCA courts to the collegiate stage, Aliyah Carter’s journey to volleyball stardom is due to her passion and love for the game. As a standout athlete who has conquered high school and college volleyball, Carter’s story is about hard work and achieving one’s dream.

Carter’s journey into volleyball began at a young age when she first tried recreational play at the YMCA. Despite also enjoying soccer as a kid, volleyball eventually captured her heart. Having made the hard decision to pursue club volleyball over club soccer in middle school, Carter’s dedication to the sport started to blossom.

After joining Adrenaline Volleyball Academy in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Carter increased her skills and became a rising star in the volleyball community. Her hard work would soon be rewarded as she received her first offer from the University of Iowa while in eighth grade. At this moment, she knew to believe in her ability to excel in volleyball at the highest level. “For the first time, I knew I could do this for a living. I could go far with volleyball,” said Carter.

Carter’s passion for volleyball is driven by her dream of competing in the Olympics, initially fueled by her love for soccer. Despite the switch in sports, Carter’s ultimate goal remained the same. Pushing herself to play in the Olympics motivates her to push herself further and reach for the highest levels of success in volleyball.

Aliyah Carter: Kansas State Volleyball image in uniform
Aliyah Carter (Credit: Opendorse)

The pros and cons of being undersize at the outside position

Throughout her career, Carter has faced multiple hardships. Standing 5’10”, she defied the odds of being undersized at her position in volleyball. Still, she turned this disadvantage into an advantage by leveraging her exceptional jumping ability and developing a unique arsenal of shots. 

“The biggest thing for me growing up in this sport is that I’m a short outside. I’m listed as 5’10 on the roster, and usually, when you see the hitters on the volleyball court, they’re tall. Middles are probably 6’6 and outsides are pushing like 6’2. They’re tall girls. So, the hardest thing I had to go through was knowing that I was shorter, but the advantage I had was that I could jump high,” explained Carter

Being a state champion in the long jump and a finalist in the high jump in high school, Carter used those experiences to improve her disadvantages in volleyball.

The Great Accomplishments Carter made

Carter’s success continued as she went to collegiate volleyball. She showcased her talent and skills on the collegiate stage by obtaining accolades, such as Big 12 Freshman of the Year and Midwest Freshman of the Year. Even with these accolades, Carter remains humble, focusing on contributing to her team’s success.

“For freshman year, I was just worried about getting playing time. That was the one thing that I was worried about. So sure, in the back of everyone’s head is like, oh, can I be the best, and can I get, you know, all-American or rookie of the year? Yeah, that can sweep easily by somebody’s mind. But I think as a freshman going in, you just wanna get playing time or help your team as best as you can,” said Carter. 

Motivational words for the youth athletes

Off the court, Carter hopes young players can embrace their qualities while pushing to be the best version of themselves no matter the pressure.

“Be yourself through and through. It’s difficult because, at a young age, you’re still trying to find out who you are, who you wanna be, and what you wanna do. So what women’s basketball is doing for us right now is seeing Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese, and many other players uniquely being themselves and striving to be the best in their sport. So, not comparing yourselves to different players and teammates and being yourself are the biggest goals for any young player,” said Carter.

As Carter’s volleyball story continues, she looks to continue to motivate the youth while ultimately pushing to pursue her goal of one day playing in the Olympics.

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