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O'Reilly Looks to Finish Collegiate Career with Change
August 5, 2014
By Kelly McHugh
It's rare, almost unheard of, for a student-athlete to transfer prior their senior season, however Mary Alice O'Reilly did just that.
The senior middle blocker from San Bruno, California, spent the past three seasons at San Jose State and joins the K-State volleyball squad as the team's lone Californian.
Used to the big-city lifestyle, O'Reilly was ready for a change in scenery, and K-State offered her just that.
"I was looking for a change from my old school," explained O'Reilly on her transfer. "I know it's rare to transfer as a senior, but I am excited for the opportunity. I love the fact that this community is so close knit. The camaraderie of the team and the town in general, I just fell in love with it on my visit. So I figured I'd come and see what it had in store for me."
Describing herself as a "country girl at heart," O'Reilly said she feels confident that Manhattan, Kansas, is the right place for her.
"It's definitely different... definitely different," she laughed. "I grew up in a big city, went to college in a big city, so Kansas, it's different but it's good. It's a good change. I love smaller towns and I love the country; so this is just a good fit. I love the town and how it's, like is said, so tight knit. The energy here is just awesome."
At San Jose State, O'Reilly started all of the Spartans' matches during her sophomore and junior seasons, averaging more than three kills and nearly a block per set. In 2012, she was named to the All-WAC First Team after leading San Jose State in kills (342) and blocks (98) while hitting at a .344 clip. Last season, in her first season in the Mountain West Conference, she had 340 kills and 95 blocks. Her standout match against San Diego State in November, in which she had a career-high 19 kills and 12 blocks, helped her earn Mountain West Player of the Week honors.
Excited to carry over the same energy and passion as a player from the courts of California to Ahearn Field House, O'Reilly is ready to make an impact with K-State volleyball.
"I'm a hard worker. I'm calm on the court but I definitely have a blast," O'Reilly said of her playing style. "I feed off the energy of my teammates, and from what I can tell so far, it's going to be awesome."
One of the biggest differences between San Jose State volleyball and K-State volleyball is the size of the roster, O'Reilly explained. The San Jose State roster includes just 13 players while the Wildcats carry 20 players.
"I'm still learning the ropes," she said. "Every school does things differently. I came from a really small team where there were not many of us on the team at all, but I think being on a bigger team is going to be good. It's just going to make us more powerful.
"I don't think there are necessarily any bad transitions; it's just going to be different and take a little time."
Nearly one month into summer training with K-State volleyball, O'Reilly is excited for the new chapter in her collegiate career to begin - and with a passion for the game and a love for her new college town and team, there's no telling what the next year holds for her.
"I've been playing volleyball since the fourth grade and it means everything to me," she said with a smile. "It's my escape; it's the one place where I can let everything go and just focus. It's what I love to do."
K-State volleyball begins its 2014 season on August 29, with a trip to Green Bay, Wisconsin, for the Green Bay Invitational. Hosting the K-State Invitational, the Wildcats' first home matches will take place in Bramlage Coliseum from Sept. 4-6. For more on the 2014 K-State Volleyball schedule, click here.