Ally Hall was going to find positive energy wherever and however she could get it.
She had every reason to have more a negative attitude a year ago. In the middle of her junior season, her left leg landed awkwardly onto a teammate’s foot, tearing her left ACL and ending her season. But through the long six-month recovery process, Hall stayed upbeat and pressed ahead.
A single song, Panic! at the Disco’s ‘High Hopes,’ soon became an anthem of sorts that represented her journey back to the court.
“I listened to it every morning and it would kind of get me in a positive headspace,” Hall said. “With an injury like that, you could very easily fall into a depression or negative space. I'd always listen to that with my momma in the morning and then I'd be ready for the day and have a positive outlook that tomorrow would be better.”
Hall’s high hopes weren’t unfounded. A year after her injury, she stepped right back into her role as the offensive leader of Lambert’s volleyball team, pacing the Longhorns to a 24-13 record and an undefeated Region 5-7A run with her 381 kills, 235 digs and 425 assists.
“Mentally, you kind of start to doubt yourself that you're going to be the same player you were, if you're going to be able to jump as high vertically or pass as well as you used to,” Hall said. “Those doubts can easily eat away at you, but once you get on the floor and you have your family around you, it's kind of how everything once was.”
Getting to know...
Singer/Special education teacher
Favorite music artist:
Favorite Disney Movie:
High School Musical 3
Beach or Mountains:
Hall had a taste of that kind of success early during her time at Lambert as part of the 31-13 squad from 2016. But even with all those wins, those Longhorns didn’t capture the region title, losing a close 3-2 match to South Forsyth in the region championship – their only region loss that year.
“I wanted it to be different,” Hall said. “I saw the look in those seniors' eyes when I was a freshman and said, ‘I never want to have to go through that.’ And it's not just about me -- We made a bond at the beginning of the season (this year) and a pact that we were going to kick some butt when it comes to region time. You can have a great record, but when it's region time, it's a clean slate.”
And when the Longhorns beat Milton 3-1 on Oct. 12 to win the region, Hall ran over to the sidelines to give Lambert head coach Missey Hall, her mother, a big hug. It was the culmination of all the work she’d done to come back strong, and it was a moment she’ll never forget.
“That was a big deal for me, because we definitely talked about it,” Ally Hall said. “Junior year I got hurt and it fell between the cracks and everything like that. I told her, ‘I'm going to get better. I'm going to be good this year.’ I kept telling her that.”
Hall’s future lies at Middle Tennessee State University, where she’ll join head coach Chuck Crawford, who had been recruiting her since his time at Auburn. Hall had never heard of MTSU before she was invited by Crawford to visit the campus, and although she was talking to other, bigger schools, the challenge of building something up was appealing to her.
“I wanted to go to a school where they're not already great,” Hall said. “I wanted to be part of something. I wanted to be known as a part of that team that got them back to where they were. I'm not scared of working hard. I'm ready for it. That's just kind of the mentality I have.”