Constantino To Play Volleyball At Pitt-Bradford (12/11/2017)

(By CSZ Sports Writer Kenn Staub)  While many Clarion Area High School seniors are still in the midst of making their college decisions, one knows where she is going and what she’ll be doing.  Alexis Constantino, a libero on the Bobcat volleyball team, will be attending the University of Pittsburgh-Bradford to major in medical imaging and continue her playing career as a member of the Panthers’ squad.

Alexis Constantino (provided by Clarion Volleyball)

Offensively, Alexis served for 205 points (40 aces) during the 2017 season, with 2 kills and 18 assists.  On defense she came up with 400 digs over the course of her 87 sets played (a 4.60 per set average).  She helped her team reach the PIAA Class A semifinals and achieve a #2 ranking by the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association (PVCA).  Alexis was named first team All-KSAC and All-District, as well as earning All-State recognition from the PCVA.

Alexis described herself as a very coachable player who is able to learn from her mistakes on the court in order to improve.  She attributes some of her success to the summer lifting program developed by Strength and Conditioning Coach Duane Schmader of the Clarion YMCA, adding that it “gave her and the team endurance and strength to finish long rallies throughout the season.”  Alexis also cited team camps and playing in tournaments against bigger schools as reasons for team growth and improvement.  With her emphasis on team, it’s no surprise that Alexis “loves seeing my [her] friends succeed during games and watching them make big plays.”  Her faith in Jesus also plays a big role in her life, as she noted that “before every game I say a prayer thanking Him for giving me the opportunity to be a light for Him and that I use His gifts to glorify His name.”  When assessing Alexis as a player, Clarion head volleyball coach Shari Campbell noted that “Alexis has been a three year starter at the varsity level and has contributed so much to this program over that time.  I have watched her grow as a player and think she is playing the best she has ever played now.  She’s ready to move to the next level and I look for her to achieve in the same way at Pitt-Bradford.”

Left to Right: Parents Dave & Kim Constantino, Alexis Constantino, Clarion Head Volleyball Coach Shari Campbell (photo by Melissa Shoemaker)

According to Alexis the decision to play at Pitt-Bradford came about because both their head coach and assistant coach came to numerous Clarion games.  At the college-level she is looking forward to being challenged in a competitive atmosphere.  The 2017 Pitt-Bradford Panthers (14-13 overall, 7-2 in conference) were regular season co-champions of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC).  They accomplished this despite losing seven starters from the 2016 team that posted a 25-6 record, won the AMCC championship, and qualified for the NCAA Division III tournament.

Pitt-Bradford Head Coach Tom Roof, the 2016 AMCC Coach of the Year, expressed being “extremely excited to have a student-athlete of Alexis’s ability and experience coming to Pitt-Bradford.”  He noted that “coming from a great program such as Clarion she will be ready to contribute right away.”  Coach Roof described Alexis as a “hard-nosed, gutsy player who gives everything she has.  She plays to win every point.”  Other attributes cited by Coach Roof included Alexis’s “take charge style of play”, leadership, athleticism, competitiveness, and ability to cover the court from corner-to-corner.  Coach Roof added that “she’s the type of player who can come in as a freshman and make a huge impact.”

Alexis is the daughter of Dave and Kim Constantino of Clarion, who “couldn’t be more proud of the growth demonstrated by Alexis throughout her years at Clarion Area.”  They feel “she has learned how a positive, strong work ethic is essential in this world” and that “playing sports has taught her how to not only have a strong work ethic as an athlete, but also as an academic learner.  She has learned to play selflessly and more importantly, how to give God the glory in all that she has done throughout her career.” 

Kaitlyn and Alexis Constantino (courtesy of Kim Constantino)

This year the Constantino’s had the pleasure of watching Alexis play alongside her sister Kaitlyn, a sophomore outside/right hitter for the Bobcats.  “Watching the two of them work together as teammates and siblings provided us with a tremendous amount of pride for the both of them,” noted the Constantino’s, adding that “the memories they made together will go forth with them both the rest of their lives.”   The Constantino’s summarized their feelings as follows: “The accomplishments/accolades that she has obtained have been nice.  However, the true gift that she has learned from a very young age is that faith is the foundation that will anchor her the rest of her life.  We are looking forward to what the future holds for her in college as she continues her volleyball career and watching her continue to grow as a person.”

Alexis had many people to thank for her success.  She thanked Coach Schmader for “putting in the countless hours to make a [strength and conditioning] program for us to be successful.”  Alexis praised Coach Campbell for “being so selfless, as she goes above and beyond to make the team better,” adding that “there are many nights where she puts our team before her life outside the game.”  The impact of Coach Campbell is obvious when Alexis states “I cannot thank her enough for the lessons she has taught us not only about the game of volleyball but in life; to become strong, independent women.”  The consummate team player, Alexis also thanked her teammates “for being the best group of girls I have ever had the privilege to play with.”  Finally Alexis thanked her parents for their support throughout her entire career and never missing a game.

(Best wishes for success the rest of your senior year Alexis and at Pitt-Bradford next season!)