After graduating high school, most people stick near home, or else choose a more exotic locale to pursue their degree. That is why USM volleyball player Hallie Noah’s 3,000 mile journey from Alaska to Maine, which has a similar climate, is somewhat surprising.
The 6-foot-2 inch outside hitter from Anchorage is making the transition to Maine life about as easy as anyone could do it, and she is bringing a world of experience to a USM volleyball team that could use some help after becoming a varsity sport again last year following a three year hiatus.
“I did a visit here and talked to some of the professors and I just fell in love with it,” Noah said. “The whole life of Portland is a great fit for me. There’s always something to do and somewhere to go.”
Noah attended the College of Saint Benedict last year in St. Joseph, Minn. originally for volleyball, but it didn’t offer criminology. She decided to look mainly for schools with a criminology program, and USM was one of the schools that came up. She visited and decided to apply.
Going to a different place isn’t an unfamiliar thing for Noah, as she has lived in different areas of the country throughout her lifetime because of her father’s job in the oil business.
“I’ve moved around a lot my whole life so it was not a huge change for me to go to a new place for school,” she said.
Noah was born in Amarillo, Texas, and has lived in such places as Oklahoma, New Mexico and back to Texas before her and her family moved to Alaska eight years ago. The visit she made to USM was her first time to the Pine Tree State, and it was one that made her feel somewhat at home.
“I loved it when I first got here,” Noah said. “Portland is pretty much like Anchorage. The weather is the same; the difference is obviously just the size of the two cities and the state.”
Being such a big state with a large number of schools and four classes of high school volleyball, you could say Alaska has a high interest in the sport. Noah came from a school whose program only started six years ago, but her and her teammates certainly caught on quick.
Noah started playing volleyball in her last year living in Texas before moving to Alaska. She attended South Anchorage High School, which opened its doors her first year there in the fall of 2004 and its volleyball program started up not long after that. She played on the school’s C-Team her freshman year, and made the varsity squad her sophomore year as she eventually won three straight Alaska School Activities Association 4A Volleyball State Championships with SAHS.
“There are a lot of solid volleyball programs in Alaska. It’s definitely different than here,” Noah said. “There’s more interest on the West coast. Even the small villages have co-ed teams.”
The junior’s success didn’t stop at her three straight high school state titles either, as the team she played on at the College of Saint Benedict her freshman year made it all the way to the Elite Eight of the Div. III NCAA Championships in Bloomington, Ill. She was also part of a club team called Midnight Sun Volleyball during her junior year in high school that played in a national tournament in Reno, Nev. They took 10th place in the country, the highest that any Alaskan team had ever placed.
Noah brings the skills she developed in Alaska to USM, making her mark as one of the Huskies top players early on this season. She gives the team several different options on the court as she has been trained in the right side, defense, outside hitter and setter positions. Her volleyball background is key for the Huskies because one specific setter has yet to be indentified on the second year varsity program under Head Coach Anne Tricomi. Although only a first year player in the program, Noah says she is meshing great with the team and is enjoying herself along the way.
“My coaches, teammates and really the whole USM athletics community have been great so far,” she said. “I’m having a great time.”