Ali Celentano is bringing the heat to the volleyball courts

Since coming to campus in fall 2011, junior business administration major Ali Celentano has been a driving force on the volleyball court and is always pushing for new challenges.

From Mission Viejo, Calif., Celentano played a variety of sports growing up, most notably soccer. She also tried basketball due to her height — she is 6’0” — but found she didn’t have a true passion for it.

Celentano’s love for volleyball actually started late, during her first year of high school.

“[I] tried out because I was tall, and it looked fun,” she said.

She started to study and learn the game, progressing to new heights.

With the advice of her high school coach, she joined a club team to further develop her skills.

During a recruiting tournament in Las Vegas her junior year of high school, she was approached by the current head coach of the Carnegie Mellon volleyball team, Kim Kelly.

This was also the first time Celentano had ever heard of Carnegie Mellon.

Two years later, she would become a business administration major with a minor in biology, join the team, and now, she is positioned to join Carnegie Mellon’s top 10 leaders in kills.

With 893 career kills and 246 for the season, she needs 195 more kills to crack the top 10.

Celentano’s friend Adrian Botta, a junior statistics major who watched her team’s home 3–0 victory over Frostburg State University last Tuesday, said, “Ali plays for hours on end, rarely getting a sub, and always has to run between practice and classes, but she is always walking around with a smile and a great, relaxed attitude.”

“However, the second the whistle blows and the ball is in the air, she is definitely hitting it down as hard as she can. That is when she gets all that energy out,” Botta said.

Celentano’s said that her favorite part of volleyball is “the excitement — the way the momentum can ebb-and-flow after every single point.”

“The most rewarding thing that I have gotten from volleyball is the camaraderie of the girls, the trust in my teammates and coaches, and the teamwork skills I have acquired,” she said.

Celentano has a variety of goals for this season, both personal and team-oriented. She wants to reach 1,000 career kills by the end of the season — she needs 107 more — a distinction she wishes to share with teammate, senior Senna Parsa.

She also wants to have another successful year and have the team reach the University Athletic Association (UAA) playoffs.

“The most exciting games are the UAA’s. We get to play the best teams in our conference and [the games] are always very competitive,” Celentano said.
Her team, with a 15–4 record, sits third in the UAA Conference and will get to show its mettle when it heads to Cleveland this Saturday for the first UAA
round-robin tournament.

“We are all looking forward to the first UAA round-robin,” Celentano said.

After a 3–6 conference record last season, Celentano hopes for a better result this year.

Whatever the outcome, however, Celentano will surely play a large role in bringing the Tartans closer to victory.