Before becoming one of the most notorious names in the realm of MIAA volleyball, Northwest junior middle hitter Hallie Sidney started her sporting career trying out a variety of sports.
Sidney participated in tennis, soccer, gymnastics, basketball, volleyball, rock climbing and karate throughout her childhood. She credited her dad for introducing her to the abundance of activities in the sporting world.
“My dad was really big into making us try every sport,” Sidney said. “Tennis was confusing because I write with my left hand but hit with my right hand, so that was kind of confusing with the racket. While my dad played basketball in college, I wasn’t really into that.”
Sidney then went on to say besides volleyball, gymnastics was her favorite sport to compete in. Although she loved gymnastics, Sidney wouldn’t have pursued gymnastics at the collegiate level, even if volleyball never worked out.
Sidney’s love for volleyball came from her older sister. In fourth grade, Sidney watched her sister play in the eighth grade. In some ways, the moment served for Sidney to realize she wanted to be just like her older sister. This opened the doors to club volleyball for Sidney when she was 12 years old.
Sidney played on a volleyball club out of St. Louis, Missouri, where she traveled around the country to face teams of similar ages. She has fond memories of hanging out with her teammates and especially remembers the Denver Crossroads Qualifier tournament.
“It was a place I’ve never been to, and we got to go to Red Rocks and hike a little bit,” Sidney said. “The stuff that happened outside the actual tournament was really fun. Any tournament I was with my team and got to hangout was fun.”
After club volleyball, Sidney found herself playing on the varsity team as a freshman at Marquette High School in Chesterfield, Missouri. In her four years, Sidney became a second-team All-State performer and a two-time All-Suburban West Conference first-team performer.
During her last two seasons at Marquette, Sidney earned first-team accolades and was honored with all-district three times. Sidney was also a first-team all-region performer as a junior and earned second-team honors as a senior.
Besides being dominant on the court, Sidney was superb in the classroom. She was named to the Honor Roll all four years and was a Bronze Scholar-Athlete and a Bright Flight Award recipient, which has a requirement of at least a 31 ACT score.
“My parents always told me and my siblings that the most important thing was our grades, even when we all played sports,” Sidney said.
During her freshman year, Sidney and her team were invited to compete in the state tournament. During her next three years, Sidney was never able to make it out of district play, but she was glad she was able to face the competition she did.
“We were a good team, but we were in a big area so we played a lot of good competition,” Sidney said. “It was good for our team and being able to face people that were going to be in college too.”
Sidney credits her ability to lead by experiencing state her freshman year. This was also her favorite memory from high school volleyball.
“Being able to be a part of that as a freshman and seeing how the girls above me led and got us to state was cool,” Sidney said. “The relationships and the friends I made from high school were fun and being able to play with your best friends was important.”
While Sidney’s sister went on to play volleyball at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Sidney wanted to stay closer to home. Northwest was Sidney’s top choice throughout her recruiting process, and she fell in love with the culture surrounding the program.
“When I came on campus, I liked the way the girls talked about the volleyball program and how they wanted to be a part of this culture development and winning a conference championship for the first time,” Sidney said. “That was something that I wanted to be a part of. I was also impressed with the whole town and how everybody wants every team to succeed.”
Not only was Sidney impressed with the community and the team but also the J.W. Jones Student Union.
“I really like the Union and their waffles. I’m just a big Union breakfast fan,” Sidney said. “I was here so much that Google Maps thought the Union was my home address. If I could go down there now, I’d get the hash browns or tater tots with chocolate milk.”
This year, Sidney has left her mark on the court. She’s played in every match for the Bearcats, a total of 81 sets. She’s averaging 4.56 points per set, 4.17 kills per set, 3.00 digs per set and has an average hitting percentage of 0.227. She’s 2nd in the nation in attacks per set (12.84) and 14th in the nation in total kills (338). Sidney has also received four MIAA Hitter of the Week honors in eight weeks.
Sidney’s ability to achieve such honors come from her finding ways to work as a team. By knowing how each person excels, she’s able to adjust her playing in a game. By the team understanding how each other works, they will ultimately create an unstoppable force, Sidney said.
Sidney is using her leadership skills to press the team motto “Brick by Brick” to all of the young players. She compared her team to a brick wall, which is held together by mortar. The mortar is compared to the relationships the team has created and how they’re building between players.
“Just being able to get to know one another on the court and off the court is something that’s really important,” Sidney said. “Just the culture and system that Bearcat volleyball has been since coach Woerth has been in charge is a big part of the team right now.”
Aside from volleyball, Sidney is keeping busy at Northwest. She’s majoring in education and wants to teach high school chemistry. She also wants to continue being a part of the sport of volleyball and coach a high school team.
As the season is coming closer to the MIAA tournament, Sidney is looking to complete the goal set during the offseason.
“Our goal is to win the MIAA conference tournament, which is how you automatically qualify for regionals,” Sidney said. “Our region is pretty tough, so this is how we can prove our dominance, and we control our own fate.”