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Alex Martin: On-court leader, off-court mentor

For senior Alex Martin, leadership is a role she was born to play whether she’s aware of it or not.

“I don’t really think of myself in a leadership role. I just go out and play the game I need to play and try to keep the energy alive,” said Martin.

Anyone who has attended a Belmont volleyball game and seen Martin in her element knows she is a natural-born leader. She doesn’t have to think about being supportive, it’s just in her blood.

“I think that’s what my job was on the team. Just lots of energy, constant talking, and it’s just my personality, so I didn’t think twice about it,” she said.

Her recruiting process was just as simple and straightforward as her ability to lead, said Belmont coach Tony Howell.

Martin attended a camp at Belmont the summer after her sophomore year and apparently made quite the impression.

“We knew she would make a difference, and so we offered to her right then and there and the rest is history,” said Howell.

The senior came to Belmont for its strong business program. The successful volleyball team was just an added bonus.

“I would have hated to see Alex on the other side of the net,” said Howell.

Martin currently leads the team in service aces this season with 34 and is second in blocks with 16.

“She’s consistently attacking hard. Every time she gets off the net she puts herself in position to attack and puts herself into position to block,” said Howell.

Although her 6-foot-tall stature makes her perfect for attacking, she was awarded defensive player of the week in October.

“So that tells you from a back row and front row that she just works hard and she always puts herself in position,” said Howell.

Her demanding and powerful presence on the court is not just seen in her stats but heard throughout the Curb Event Center during practices and games.

“She just brings that personality that’s so strong and so positive and so inviting and just wants to play a little more and little bit harder and by doing that she has influenced the younger group,” said Howell.

The senior will get to continue influencing others in a position she accepted back home in Ooltewah, Tenn. to begin after graduation.

“I haven’t found that one thing that just really excites me,” she said. “I haven’t found the job I want to do for the rest of my life, so I’m still trying to figure that out. But once I graduate, I’m going to be coaching for a while, and we’ll just see where that takes me.”

As her coach, Howell is excited for her to step into a role similar to his own.

“She is a natural leader vocally and by an example,” said Howell. “I think she’ll be a good influence to the younger generation coming up.”

Martin hopes to use the skills she’s learned as a volleyball player to help her in all aspects of life.

“Volleyball is a very unpredictable sport, and when you’re down two games to none, you have to be able to bounce back and figure out a way to win. I think that will help me in life,” she said.

In addition to all she has learned during her time at Belmont, she has also taught and influenced her younger teammates. Howell said she has been such a vital part to the Belmont program.

“She has that good balance of working hard and a great leader on and off the court. Even from being an assistant coach and head coach, I’ve really enjoyed working with her the past few years,” said Howell.

Howell spoke for the team by saying she will definitely be missed once she concludes her collegiate career this fall and graduates in May.

“She’s going to be a hard person to replace.”

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