Ally Ford is a graduate student pursuing her masters degree in counseling with a concentration in substance abuse and a redshirt junior on NSU’s women’s volleyball team. Ford is a transfer student from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and is from Leesburg, Virginia.
What got you into playing volleyball?
“I started volleyball in sixth grade. My mom made me do it. She played volleyball and made me go to a camp and I came back thinking this is the worst sport in the world. But, she made me try it again and keep with it and I [learned to love it] so I just kept going.”
What do you find interesting about your sport?
“I love it because it’s really fast-paced and energetic, but you also get breaks. So not only is it fun for me, but it’s fun for the spectators too. Every ball you touch [on the court] is different and the levels change. You can play at a very basic level or you can play at a very complex level, and when you play at a complex level, the smallest change can alter the whole setup and system, which I find very interesting.”
What made you decide to come to NSU?
“It’s a funny story. I graduated with my [bachelor’s degree] early in three and a half years. I started to work in the “real world” and one day in my cubicle I said to myself, ‘I’m not doing this forever’ so I am going to graduate school and [NSU] is where I am going to go.’ The next day, I sat in my cubicle and songs from my playlist during volleyball came on and I thought to myself ‘maybe I’ll play volleyball again’. So the next day I signed my transfer forms.”
How has volleyball impacted your life?
“My dad passed away when I was in seventh grade and I was on the court a week later. That was big for me. Having my teammates and friends around me [during that time] gave me so much community and it gave me a lot of confidence. Being a young girl and losing my father, [my] confidence and self-esteem was shaken and that is what volleyball gave me from a young age. As I got older, it’s just one of those things that you grow deeper into and you get better at and slowly, your love grows.”
What are some of your future goals?
“I want to graduate and get my masters degree. I want to become a licensed counselor and I’m not sure exactly what I want to study yet but I’m really excited to start my career.”
What do you hope to see from this season?
“I would say that my goal for this season is to win a national championship, obviously, but my focus is more on the [Sunshine State Conference] games. We play about 20 conference games. If we can win 15 of those games, then I feel that is a realistic goal.”
What do your pre-game rituals look like?
“I love to dance. Anything that gets you riled up, that’s me. I like to over-caffeinate. I love to drink a lot of coffee right before a game. I like to walk on the court a little jittery, which is weird because a lot of people hate that but then, after the first point, it turns into focus adrenaline.”
How have you acclimated to NSU?
“It’s been interesting in South Florida. I don’t like the iguanas. I really hate the iguanas. My program is mainly online right now, but I try to get myself on campus as much as possible because I’m so extroverted. For NSU in general, it’s been great so far. The facilities are amazing and everyone in the athletic department has been so accommodating. It’s more that I can ever ask for.”
What is your favorite thing about your team?
“Everyone is so different, personality wise. It’s fun to be on a team. You’re playing with people from different [backgrounds] and somehow you’re all friends. My teammates know everything and they remind me of my sisters sometimes. Every day you get smiles and you feel loved by at least someone.”
What is the most challenging thing for you in volleyball?
“Mentally, this season, I have to get used to playing six rotations again because last season I only played three. Physically, I’ve had a lot of injuries in the past so I need to make sure that I’m staying in rehab, taking ice baths every day. Really knowing my body is a challenge, but I find volleyball to be a safe space for me. Maybe it wasn’t always, but now that I’m older and went into the workforce and came back out, this is just fun. [It’s] where I thrive and where I want to be.”