By email@example.com (Ben Boynton)
It’s never been easy for coaches of junior middle blocker Abolanle Onipede. In the middle of a match, a coach has to make sure that they are able to communicate with their players, and Abolanle can be tough to shout out.
Thus, “Bondie” was born.
“It started in high school, and my coach was like ‘Abolanle is just too hard for me to say, so let’s think of something shorter and quicker so I can yell at you’ and everybody just came up with Bondie and it’s just stuck since then,” Onipede said.
Onipede is coming off of a match at Auburn where she recorded a season-high 10 kills on a hitting percentage of .553. As Alabama continues to search for options on offense outside of redshirt senior middle blocker Krystal Rivers, Onipede is one of the players who has a chance to step up and contribute.
“She’s a good kid who’s a positive, mature player,” coach Ed Allen said. “She’s trying to learn how to play at a much higher level than where she’s been.”
Onipede spent the past two seasons at Blinn Junior College in Texas. She helped lead her team to the 2014 NJCAA National Championship, and was named to the NJCAA All-Tournament Team. She originally made her way onto Alabama’s radar after her freshman season. Allen was looking for a middle blocker transfer, and asked Onipede about coming to Alabama.
“I was like scared of the whole transition thing, so I said no, because I still had stuff that I wanted to work on” Onipede said.
After her second year at Blinn however, Onipede was much more willing to make a move.
“We got in contact again and I came on my visit, and I was just like ‘Oh yeah, this is the place for me, I love it,’” Onipede said. “I prayed on it and talked to my family about it and it was just somewhere that I knew I needed to be.”
Blinn’s reported Fall 2015 enrollment was just over 19,000 students, so the transition from junior college to a big school wasn’t too steep for Onipede. She’s thrilled with her decision.
“It’s great,” Onipede said. “I love it, it’s everything that I expected. I came from a junior college so fitting into the college lifestyle wasn’t hard for me. It was very easy to adjust to.”
Allen has seen progress from Onipede, but agrees with her in that she has room to improve. He likes what she has done offensively, but hopes to see her continue to improve as a defensive player.
“Her working as a defender and being aware of where people are at and what they are doing is something that we’re working on,” Allen said. “We hope that she can continue to hit at that percentage and defend.”
Sophomore libero Quincey Gary feels that Onipede has been a strong addition to the team.
“She’s awesome,” Gary said. “She brings a competitive spirit and is always tough for us, so just having her be on top is really important.”
Onipede is still working to improve her game from where it was when she came in. Being able to make an impact like she did in the match against Auburn is important to her.
“It just felt great to know that I could help my team in any type of way, [whether it’s with] a positive attitude, hitting, energy, it’s just a good feeling to be on the court helping them by doing what they need me to do,” Onipede said.
Source:: The Crimson White Sports