Aliyah Carter has made a routine of turning heads on the Iowa state championship stage. Earlier this month, she did so on a national level.
The incoming Dubuque Wahlert senior was crowned tournament MVP as she led the Eastern Iowa Xtreme 17U club volleyball team to a USAV national championship on July 5 in Indianapolis.
This isn’t the first time Carter has come away from competition earning a tournament’s highest honor. In back-to-back state volleyball championships with the Golden Eagles, she was named all-tournament team captain in Iowa Class 4A. As a standout track athlete, she’s also earned two straight state long jump titles.
It’s starting to become a long list of high-level accolades for Carter, a Kansas State recruit. Since volleyball is her passion, this national title ranks pretty high.
“It’s a big one,” Carter said on Saturday. “I think right now, the two state titles for volleyball will be always first and second. … I definitely think I’ll always remember getting the national title. It’s way different than getting a state title because you’re playing against girls that you’ve never seen before.”
Joining Carter on Xtreme were five other NCAA Division I recruits: Iowa City Liberty’s Rylee Fay (Missouri State), North Cedar’s Sydney Dennis (Iowa), Davenport North’s Bailey Ortega (Iowa), Marion’s Delaney Rice (St. Louis) and Cedar Falls’ Kacia Brown (Mississippi State). Rounding out the squad were Linn-Mar’s Emily Strauss, Liberty’s LeeAnn Potter and Natalie Welch of Mount Vernon.
At nationals, this “super team” went on an undefeated 11-0 run out of 48 teams, defeating Ohio-based club Elevation in three sets with a 15-13 tiebreaker in the championship match.
“What an outstanding way for our group to finish the club season,” Xtreme coach Jeff Meeker, who is also the head coach at Mount Vernon-based Cornell College, said in a press release. “The championship match was a great battle between very good teams. It was the type of competition you want to be in for the title.”
This wasn’t Carter’s first time in the 17-and-under level. Last year, prior to her junior prep season, she played up a level for the Adrenaline Volleyball Academy. She said she switched to Xtreme this year to stay at the 17U level, joining several players that she’s faced off against on the high school seen. Fay, Brown, Strauss and Potter are all Mississippi Valley Conference foes for Wahlert, while arguably one of Carter’s best matches of the season last year came against Welch and Mount Vernon in the 4A state quarterfinals.
“I already knew a lot of the girls from playing against them,” Carter said. “We really don’t talk about high school season that much. Club season is so long that you’re with your teammates all the time. We just become one big family.
“I’m definitely very blessed. It’s just amazing that I’ve been able to have the opportunities to do what I do. I really enjoy it. I think that I’ll keep on loving volleyball.”
This fall, the Golden Eagles will be seeking a potential fourth consecutive state championship. It will be Carter’s last chance to leave her mark on the state stage.
The national title experience, she said, is definitely something that has her geared up for high school season.
“I’m just going to keep working hard,” Carter said.