Alexa Strange takes light approach

Walter Villa

Alexa Strange is multi-talented.

The 6-foot senior setter/hitter at San Clemente (Calif.) has earned a scholarship to play for Nebraska and is interested in studying medicine. But she can make you laugh, too.

Asked if she has a nickname, Strange chuckled.

“With a name like mine, it’s not really necessary,” said Strange, who has an American-born father and a mother born in India. “They call me ‘Stranger Danger.’ But I’m going to be a doctor. Can you imagine? Dr. Strange?

“Hopefully, I get married before I start my profession. But I have to be careful because my last name will become my middle name. If I marry a guy with a last name ‘Hair,’ I’d be Alexa Strange-Hair.

“Most girls are interested in a guy’s looks. I look at his name.”

For now, though, Alexa is making the Strange name proud. She is part of the U.S. Youth National Team’s beach volleyball program, playing mostly with Southern Cal recruit Cinnamon Sary of Newport Harbor (Newport Beach, Calif.).

Strange said she prefers the beach game but is thrilled to get the chance to play indoors at Nebraska, where coach John Cook seems to already have an appreciation for her versatility.

“She is left-handed, and we are counting on her to contribute as a freshman,” Cook said on Huskers.com. “Alexa is what we’re going to call a utility player. She can play outside hitter, left or right side. She is strong in the back row, has a wicked arm and a high volleyball IQ.

“But her greatest strength may be her competitive fire.”

And there is nothing strange about that.

Green makes Texas history

Is there any team Julie Green can’t take to a championship?

After coaching Lake Travis (Austin, Texas) to a 2010 Class 4A state title, Green led Coppell (Coppell, Texas) to the 5A crown earlier this month.

Green became the first volleyball coach in Texas history to win two straight state titles with two different schools.

In an added twist, neither school had won state before Green arrived.

“Each championship is different, and each group of girls is different,” Green said. “But this one is very special.”

In order to win a third straight state title, Green – assuming she stays at Coppell – will have to replace four seniors.

The graduating players are state finals MVP and 6-4 middle blocker Kierra Holst, setters Bear Bass and Sarah Arnold and defensive specialist Kristin Dickerson.

But several key members of this year’s state title team are set to return, including Megan Kennedy, Cassidy Pickrell, Kylie Pickrell, Chiaka Ogbogu, Erica Bohannon and Kate Dicken.

Like father, like daughter

Katie George, a 5-10 senior setter for Assumption (Louisville, Ky.), signed with Louisville earlier this month and figures to make a seamless transition. That’s because her high school coach, Ron Kordes, is the father of her soon-to-be college coach, Anne Kordes.

As a junior, George committed to play for Anne Kordes at Saint Louis. But when the coach got hired at Louisville, George decided to follow her and play for the Cardinals.

George said she looks forward to playing college ball in front of her hometown fans and plans to study communications.

“I want to be a field reporter for ESPN like Erin Andrews,” said George, who is a sports columnist for her high school newspaper. “I love college football.”

NCAA tournament

Of the 10 seniors who earned 2010 ESPNHS first-team All-America honors, nine of them will be competing in the NCAA tournament, which begins Thursday.

Four of those players are on seeded teams: Haley Eckerman (No. 1 Texas); Aiyana Whitney (No. 8 Penn State); Megan Moenoa (No. 9 UCLA); and Tiffany Baker (No. 14 Tennessee).

Also getting their first taste of the NCAA postseason will be Krista Vansant of Washington; Christina Higgins and Lillian Schonewise of Cal; Kori Moster of Michigan State; and Chloe Mathis of Arizona.

The only All-American who did not get to the NCAA tournament was Jeni Houser of Notre Dame. Houser, though, had a strong season as a freshman starter.