Four Years, Four Titles
By Joey Ramirez | Photos By Megan Stearman & Tricia Biagi
Like most high school students, there are annual school rituals for Alexa Filley.
Register for classes; buy textbooks; take yearbook photos, and…win the Kentucky State Volleyball Championship.
Four consecutive years, four consecutive state championships for Alexa and Assumption High School (Louisville, Ky.) teammates.
But for Filley, the season that stands out most is this past one when, as the team’s senior setter, she piloted her team past early struggles before catching fire and sweeping all but one match in the state tournament.
“We started losing games we should have been winning, and there was a lot of conflict in the team; we just weren’t working together well,” Filley says.
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Filley admits that there was “a little bit of doubt” that the Rockets would win their fourth consecutive crown. But led by her 1,248 assists, 334 digs and 102 kills, Assumption pulled through to cement a near-perfect career.
“Her being in her fourth year, that’s even more important cause that’s her year. That’s her senior year. That’s the year that she wants to win it,”
says Richard Filley, Alexa’s father. “She wants to go out knowing that she didn’t let the team down; didn’t let the school down; didn’t let the underclassmen down by not carrying that championship one more year.”
The best of the best
For Alexa, winning that final championship is a product of a journey that began long before she enrolled at Assumption.
Since she was a child, Filley has always been a gifted athlete, excelling at a young age in everything from basketball to field hockey.
“Anything that she had some type of competition in, she was going to figure out some kind of way to be competitive,” says Richard. “Anything she was trying to get into, she wanted to be the best at that time on that court.”
When she was still in middle school, Alexa’s parents would drive her to Assumption to work with the team’s setters during morning practice.
“She was at an age she could hardly push the ball outside,” said Assumption head coach Ron Kordes. “She’d get in there, and it didn’t bother her. She kept coming and coming.”
That work ethic continued when Filley began her legendary high school career. Described by parents and coaches as self-motivated, she insisted on working on her game before school, which required waking up at 5 a.m., though she never once complained, according to Richard.
“I just love going into the gym when no one else is in there, and I can just focus on what I wanna get better on,” Alexa says. “And I just love the feeling of accomplishing more really early in the morning than most people would achieve all day.”
Filley’s determination paid off not only in the form of state title, but also individual recognition. In January she was selected as the 2013-14 Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year.
“Her work ethic has definitely put her in the position that she’s in,” says Valorie Baker,
Alexa’s club coach at the Kentucky-Indiana Volleyball Academy. “That’s not an award that you just waltz into. It’s a well-rounded student-athlete that receives that, and Alexa’s definitely worthy of that.”
At 5-foot-9, part of Filley’s drive stems from those that doubt her ability because of her height. That motivation has helped her become only the third setter to ever win this award.