Nicolet National Bank Senior Spotlight: Allyson Knutson, Bay Port volleyball, basketball and softball
By William Soquet
Name: Allyson Knutson
Parents: Amy and Harvey Knutson
Activities: Volleyball, basketball and softball
Ally has been incredibly active during her time as a Pirate, serving as a middle blocker on the volleyball court, a forward on the basketball court and a center fielder on the softball diamond. She is committed to Smith College in Northampton, Mass. to play softball.
How did the basketball game against Sheboygan South on Feb. 18 go?
“We won by 20 points, 50-30. It went really well. All of us seniors, it was our last conference game, so we were all out on the court together having fun. It was a really fun game. By the end of it, we were having fun together, working together, playing together as a team.”
How have you grown as a basketball player during high school?
“Last year was my junior year, and I went through some injuries. I had a concussion for part of the season, and that led to me really not getting any experience as a varsity basketball player. This season, I’ve had to step into kind of a new role where I have to play a lot more than last year and a lot more than I ever have. I’ve learned a lot about myself about being a hard worker. I’ve never played post before, and this is my first year [doing that].”
What is a favorite moment of your volleyball career?
“Definitely beating Notre Dame two of my three years playing on varisty. Our junior year, we beat them, and we were not favored to win. They were a really good team, second in the conference, maybe third. We were not having the greatest season, and we came into that game ready to play as hard as we could. They beat us out the previous year in the playoffs, so we kind of took them by surprise and beat them in five [sets]. This year, we beat them as well. Both times, it was a reverse sweep. Super close games, super energetic games, so many fans there. The moment that stands out to me is the last point, there was everyone storming the court and it was so awesome.”
What is the hardest part of the middle blocker technique?
“Definitely getting out to the outside when they’re running quicker plays. If they’re running a chute, it’s really hard to get out to the outside, recognize that and get out in time. Our coach really helped us perfect that this year and that was really a huge focus of our practices, just to run it over and over. I think all us middle blockers really improved in that.”
Do matches ever get chippy with other teams’ front lines?
“Everything is usually pretty civil because there’s a net separating you. A lot of times, we will say to each other ‘Oh, I like your shoes.’ It’s usually pretty good.”
What is the best part of your softball game?
“Just that I’m a well-rounded player. I’m going to be playing in college at Smith College, and I have been recruited as just an overall player, as a hitter, as a fielder, I can play pretty much every position. Even though I’m playing the outfield this year, I can go in pretty much anywhere. As a hitter, I’m pretty consistent, I think last year I was in the .400s for batting average. So just my consistency.”
Define a successful senior softball season.
“A successful season for me would be to make the most of it and to treasure every game. Last year, I feel like I lost a little steam and lost a little motivation, so this year, just not losing my motivation. And this year, I mentioned to my coach that I want to steal more bases than I did last year. That would be a successful season for me.”
What about Smith College made it the right place for you?
“Sophomore year was when I found out about the school, and I thought, ‘That’s an awesome school.’ It’s an all-girls school, and it’s been a really iconic academic school since the 1800s for women. Then junior year, when I was really driving into the recruiting process, I got in contact with the coach and thought the program was really awesome. The conference they’re in is super awesome, they’ve got schools like Babson, MIT and Worcester Polytechnic Institute that are all really good D-III softball programs. I thought, ‘This is my dream school, no way it will happen.’ This year, I went up to visit and the coach offered me a spot on the team. I applied and I got in, which was pretty crazy.”
If you had to pick only one sport to play, what would you play?
“I would choose softball because I just think it is really a mental game. You can take a bunch of reps in the cage, and it all really comes down to what you’re thinking in the moment in the batter’s box, what you’re thinking in the field. I think it’s a game where any team can win on any given day, and you can go out and play one of the best teams in the state and you can win no matter how good of a team you are and how good of a team they are if you’re in the right mental state. I really like that about softball.”
Where do you go out to eat after games?
“We like to go to Culver’s as a team, especially for volleyball. I always get ice cream there.”
Who is at the top of your music playlist?
“Bleachers, Bright Eyes, Elliott Smith and Taylor Swift.”
What is a favorite show of yours?
“Recently, I’ve been watching a lot of ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ and ‘Community.’ I also really like the original Spider-Man series with Toby Maguire.”
What is your favorite season?
“Spring because it’s warming up, and it makes me happy that it’s warming up.”
What are some of your hobbies?
“I play guitar and violin. I listen to music a lot, I collect CDs. I like to read, I read about 100 books in 2021.”
Where is a favorite place you’ve traveled to?
“Probably New York or [Washington] D.C. I love American history, so that was really cool. We got to see ‘Hamilton’ in D.C.”
What is your academic plan in college?
“I’m going to be double majoring in biochemistry and film and media studies.”