She may not be the chief cook or bottle washer, but she does just about everything else at the Rider University volleyball matches.
Sophomore Haley Wilson sang the national anthem before the Broncs Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference match against Fairfield on September 19 before recording a team-high 13 digs against the visiting Stags.
“Since my freshman year in high school, I’ve been singing in public,” said Wilson, a Secondary Education and History dual major from Williamsburg, Iowa. “I was in the school plays, musicals, and we reached the State Finals in Show Choir.”
Wilson has struck a sweet note on the volleyball court this season as well, currently ranking fourth among the Broncs in both assists and digs and leading the team in serve percentage.
“Haley has played very steady, and has been seeing and reacting to the ball very well,” said Rider head coach Emily Ahlquist, now in her 12th season leading the Broncs.
“My role is to be a defensive specialist,” said Wilson, who twice played in the USA Volleyball Junior Olympic Championships and was an All-State, All-District and All-Conference (EIHC and WaMac) selection for Williamsburg High School. “Basically controlling the back row. I see myself getting in anytime in the back row and digging up anything I can, and to do the best I can serving as well.”
Wilson comes from a long line of standout athletes. Her father, Dave, was an All-State football player in high school who later played at Truman State University in Missouri. Her grandfather, Robert Van Cleve, lettered in many sports in high school and was a three-sport standout at William Penn College in Iowa.
“My grandfather, he did a lot,” Wilson said. “They were both great athletes.”
In just her second year at Rider, Wilson has time to think about her post-Rider ambitions.
“I’d like to stay on the East Coast and teach,” Wilson said of her future. “I love working with kids. I always wanted to be out of state, to go somewhere different from where I’m from. Rider is a great opportunity for me.”
For now she’ll work on her serves, assists and digs, as well as her singing – just about anything you ask of her. “Anytime I’m given the opportunity to help, I’m happy.”