CLASS OF 2019: Volleyball great Ali Daley McColloch to be inducted into Nevada Union Athletics Hall of Fame
Even before high school, Ali Daley McColloch was turning heads with her ability on the volleyball court.
Once she reached Nevada Union’s campus, what she was able to do on the court and the level of success she helped the Miners achieve was nothing short of legendary.
“She’s No. 1 (all-time),” former Nevada Union girls volleyball coach Bob Rogers said in 2015. “She could hit, she could block, she could set, and fortunately she made her teammates better too.”
With great skill and athleticism McColloch was a dominant force for the Miners, leading NU’s program to new heights with a pair of Metro League titles (2003, 2004), three straight Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championships (2002-2004) and two NorCal titles (2003, 2004). Her success at the high school level was followed by even more success at the college and pro levels as a player and now as a coach.
For her efforts as a Miner and beyond, McColloch is set to be inducted into the Nevada Union Athletics Hall of Fame April 27.
“My time at Nevada Union was really special,” McColloch said. “Nevada Union was always so supportive of me and I had such a great time and experience in high school.”
While McColloch’s first priority was the success of the team as a whole, she did accumulate a treasure trove of individual accolades along the way.
While at Nevada Union, she was the first freshman to ever make and start on the varsity team, was named the team MVP three times, earned CIF All-Tournament Team honors twice, was named the 2005 High Sierra Invitational MVP, was the Optimist All-Star Game’s Most Outstanding Player for the South team, and in her senior season she led the state of California in kills with a school record 814.
The 2005 graduate was also a standout on the basketball court where she earned team MVP honors. For her exceptional efforts in both sports she won the Albert Ali Award as the top female athlete her senior year.
“I love sports and I love competing,” McColloch said. “Sports helped me know who I was and helped pave my way to college. Through sports I learned so many valuable skills, like teamwork and respect, and how to rise to challenges. It was a major part of who I was and without sports I don’t know what I’d be doing.”
McColloch said she is honored to be inducted into the Nevada Union Athletics Hall of Fame and is happy to be going in with her high school coaches Rogers and Larry Peterson.
“Bob and Larry were such a huge part of my success when I was younger and they helped me grow as an athlete and as an individual,” she said. “They were always so supportive and their knowledge of the game helped me get to the next level.”
McColloch added it was the lessons she learned through sports that helped propel her to excellence in high school and beyond.
“I learned a lot,” she said. “I learned hard work is probably the biggest. I had to work really hard. I had to put in extra time. I had to find ways to get better on my own. I think of the lessons that were taught to me by my coaches to never give up and keep going. Also, being a top athlete sometimes you think you can take breaks and you don’t need to get better, but I always had people pushing me to get better and there was a next level I could reach. I think that was a big part of me being successful.”
When McColloch looks back on her time at Nevada Union, she said the back-to-back trips to the state championship game are near the top of her favorite moments list, but another memory stands out even more. She recalled a time when she was watching her brother Gary Daley dunk during a big basketball game.
“Everybody was so excited in that moment and I was really proud of my brother, but I was also really proud to be a part of the school and the energy it brought to sports and athletics,” she said.
LIFE AFTER NU
After high school, McColloch attended and played for Long Beach State, where she was the Big West Freshman of Year in 2005 and grabbed Big West Conference All-Tournament Team honors that season.
McColloch then transferred to UCLA where she earned All-Pac 10 Honorable Mention in 2007 and 2008. By the time her career at UCLA had wrapped up, McColloch was a member of the school’s 1,000 kill, 1,000 dig club, becoming just the 24th member and doing so in just three seasons. She left UCLA with a degree in sociology.
After college, McColloch played a season in the Puerto Rico Professional Indoor League where she was named a team captain. She then competed in Spain’s Professional Indoor League. In 2012, she took her game to the sand and joined the AVP Pro Tour, where she competed for six years and earned multiple top-five finishes throughout her career.
She also played in many international events as a member of the USA Beach Volleyball program. In 2016, she finished the season as one of the top eight players and earned a spot on the national roster.
McColloch is also an accomplished coach. She, along with her husband Kevin, started a youth volleyball program in their Southern California community in 2015, which opened opportunities for college scholarships for young athletes that were not previously there.
In 2018, McColloch was tabbed to be the coach of the women’s beach volleyball team at UC Davis.
“It’s going really well,” she said of her UC Davis team. “We’ve had some wins. We don’t talk about wins and losses very much. The goal is to work really hard and make strides.”
PROUD OF HER ROOTS
McColloch said she takes great pride in being from Nevada County and her time at Nevada Union.
She also expressed gratitude for her brother, whom she always looked up to, and her parents, Gary Sr. and Janice Daley, for all their love and support along the way.
“I’m very thankful of my parents for giving me the opportunity to play sports,” she said, “for taking me to all the games and practices and giving me the option to do what I wanted to do.”
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email email@example.com.
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