Shortly before the resumption of collegiate volleyball championships in the U.S., NCAA conferences announced the athletes that they expect to have a significant impact on their teams and conferences based on their output and performance last year (2019-2020). Following a vote by all the coaches, Efrosini Alexakou, representing St. John’s University in New York, was named Preseason Big East Volleyball Player of the Year, while her team was unanimously voted the best team in the Big East Eastern Division. On the other side of the U.S., Elena Baka of St. Mary’s College in California, who competes in the West Coast Conference, was selected as one of the best athletes in its region and was therefore declared Preseason ALL-WCC. It is noteworthy that Elena Baka will also play beach volleyball this spring season for her university.
1. Elena, what inspired you to come to the United States and play volleyball? Why USA?
The main reason why I decided to come to the United States and play volleyball was the opportunity that I was given to play the sport that I love and complete my studies at a high level. Unfortunately, with the way the education system in Greece is structured, in order to succeed you usually have to let go one of these two. I wanted both of them.
I believe that my inspiration was the American setter Kristin Carpenter (NCAA champion), who I was lucky enough to have as a teammate. I was 14 years old and she was a young well trained athlete, with a great technique and athletic morals. I couldn’t ask for a better role model and actually admiring her every day during practice.
An additional seven new female Greek players will be competing this year in collegiate volleyball in the United States. By the end of January, the NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA championships will begin in which the Greek colors will be represented in record high numbers. Thirty-three female Greek athletes and five male Greek athletes will compete this upcoming season in intercollegiate level in the States, the majority of whom have international experience with their national teams and have managed to get a full athletic scholarship with the support of NOMOS.
What inspired you to come to America to play basketball? Why USA?
Coming to the USA was probably one of the toughest decisions my family and I ever made. I reached the decision that I wanted to study and play basketball at a high level and I knew that the best place to combine both is in the USA. It had always been a dream of mine to be able to play college basketball and I felt that the best place for me to grow as a person and as an athlete would be here.
A sharp-shooting way to welcome the new year was the order of the day for recent games in NCAA and NAIA basketball by Ioanna Krimili, Christina Katsamouri, and Alex Priftis.
An athlete has to confront the individual mental and physical challenges, which stand in between her and victory, alone. No other person can stand up for her, and no other person can deprive her of the glory of her efforts, regardless of the power games and interests around her efforts.
Likewise, no vested interests can stand in the way of genuine camaraderie and fraternization among people.
At EVE, athletes from 5 Balkan/Mediterranean nations (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Kosovo, Turkey) competed jointly for a better future.
NOMOS LLC believes in progress, and in sportsmanship that unites. We remain in eager anticipation of the days when young people will be allowed once again to enjoy sport, positive competition, and dreaming for a better future, together, healthy, embracing and loving life.
I started playing volleyball in 2008. I played volleyball in Arkas Sports Club for 4 years. Behind our club jerseys there was a saying "Everything starts with imagination". My dream started at that time. I have always worked hard and without getting tired to do my favorite sport, volleyball.
The Third Annual European Volleyball Exposure (EVE) showcase organized by NOMOS will take place between the 21st of February and 2nd of March in Greece and for the very first time this year in Turkey as well.
America's top volleyball universities and coaches will come to Greece and Turkey for a multi-day event filled with opportunities and life experiences for the best European volleyball talent.
Stanford captured its 9th national title, while Wisconsin earned the respect and admiration of the volleyball world with its remarkable run to the championship match after an inspiring volleyball season. The entire Nomos team serving volleyball over the years wants to congratulate student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and everyone involved in such a thrilling season to wrap-up a pivotal decade for collegiate volleyball.