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Denebola Athlete of the Year: Ally Leipzig

By Daniel Kats
Published: June 2010

Few people can successfully play three high school Varsity sports while having a positive effect on all of them. During her Newton South career, Ally Leipzig made a name for herself on the Varsity Girls’ Volleyball, Girls’ Basketball, and Girls’ Lacrosse teams.

Even though she started playing volleyball as a sophomore, Leipzig was called up to the Varsity team during her first season. She had an immediate impact and never turned back.

In her three years on the team, she recorded 136 kills, 72 block stops, and 131 block assists. In her junior and senior years, Leipzig led the team in blocking, a demonstration of her value to the team.

Even though Leipzig is not an overwhelmingly tall athlete, she compensates with her mind. Her volleyball “IQ is one of the factors that make her an exceptionally good athlete.

“She will beat you with her brilliance. She’s not some sort of volleyball specimen physically, she is a good volleyball player, but she is great because of what she does with her skills, Elwell said. “Her mind is the most powerful thing she has. Her brain makes her extremely valuable, no matter how short, or tall, or quick, or fast.

During a match against the cross-town rival Newton North Tigers, Leipzig had possibly her best performance on the volleyball court.

Although she had numerous friends on the opposing team, she did not fold under the pressure. According to Elwell, Leipzig remained composed in tense situations throughout her career.

Part of her mental strength was her analysis of the ball in play. Leipzig showed exceptional mental power when analyzing the ball’s motion and velocity. “She has really good timing. In volleyball, you have to look for the kids with great timing, Elwell said.

Leipzig was also a leader, even though she was not a volleyball captain. “Ally never needed a title, she was who she was, and she was going to lead by example, Elwell said.

Leipzig’s personality matches her game mentality, as she is very helpful and easy to work with, making her a favorite among teammates.

“Ally is very reliable. She adapts really well to every situation and she is so easy to work with. She knows the game and she is so willing to share her knowledge with her peers, senior Vanessa Gailius said.

Leipzig was a productive volleyball player because of her mentality, which Elwell described as “intense and “relentlessly positive.

Leipzig maintained the same focus and dedication in the winter and spring that she had in the fall each year. In lacrosse, for example, her coaches and teammates considered her a tremendous competitor.

“She doesn’t let the score affect her play. Even if we are down by a significant number of goals, and there was no chance for a comeback, she would still be giving it her all. She is a grounded young woman, Girls’ Lacrosse Coach Katie Neal said. “Her ability to maintain composure despite pressure, physical exhaustion, weather conditions, or the score [were her most valuable assets].

Leipzig also showed great versatility throughout her lacrosse career. “She was able to play any position on the field, so I moved her around often depending on where we needed help, Neal said. This advantage helped South in tough situations when certain player-on-player matchups weren’t working out for the team.

Her mentality and versatility resulted in her getting the 110 Percent Award and the team Most Valuable Player award, in addition to being named a Dual County League All-Star each season this year.

In basketball, Leipzig also displayed her versatility. “She could stop any player: a point guard, a center. She was just one of those players, one of those special, unique players, Coach Sam Doner said.

Leipzig consistently displayed commitment to the basketball court and to the team. “[Commitment] is a stat that nobody ever puts on paper, which is a shame. She’s a true team player, the ultimate player, Doner said. “Everyone always talks about how many points you have or how many rebounds or steals, but they don’t understand that the game is not about the points or rebounds or steals. The game is about everything else and [she does] everything else.

According to Doner, Leipzig’s best game was the first playoff game of her junior year, in which she single-handedly stopped the Needham Rockets’ Christine Ganser, who is slated to attend Holy Cross next year. For all of her efforts, Leipzig received the Girl’s Basketball 110 Percent Award during her senior year.

Leipzig was recently recognized by the school as well. At the Senior Awards ceremony, Leipzig was awarded the Betty Sabetti award. This annual award commemorates the second best female athlete in the entire senior class.

Leipzig will continue her legacy at the University of Redlands in Redlands, California, a NCAA Division-III school, where she will play either basketball or lacrosse.

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