E.A. Sports Today

Family tradition

Fresh off helping Pleasant Valley win a state volleyball title, Bryant becomes the latest in her family to take her game to college.

Cover photo: Pleasant Valley’s Allie Bryant on Tuesday celebrates her signing to play volleyball for Gadsden State Community College. (Photo by Joe Medley)

By Joe Medley
East Alabama Sports Today

PLEASANT VALLEY — Taking sports careers to college is a tradition in Allie Bryant’s family, and she’ll carry on that tradition.

Less than a month removed from helping Pleasant Valley with its latest state volleyball title, Bryant celebrated her decision to play for Gadsden State Community College. She did a mock signing in the Pleasant Valley’s library before teammates and family.

Family included her mom and retiring Pleasant Valley coach Dana Bryant, dad and Pleasant Valley softball coach David Bryant, aunt and future Pleasant Valley volleyball coach Jennifer Mann plus older sister and former Pleasant Valley volleyball and softball stand out Anna.

All played college ball. Same for oldest sister Ashley, now a travel nurse, and aunts Krystal Hill and Debbie Flannagan. They all played something for either Alabama-Huntsville, Gadsden State, Jacksonville State, or West Georgia.

As for Allie Bryant’s choice, Gadsden State recently revived sports like volleyball, and various teams there are quickly populating with area talent. The Cardinal program felt like, well, family.

“I could tell that their chemistry is really good,” she said. “They play for each other. You can tell they all get along, and you can tell that the staff and coach take care of the students … and, so, it’s a good environment.”

Allie Bryant said she doesn’t think much about the family history of playing college ball, but her dad mentioned it during the ceremony. David Bryant, who played baseball for Gadsden State, gave a rundown of the family history.

Mann and Hill are David’s sisters. Mann played volleyball for Gadsden State, and Hill played volleyball for West Georgia. Flannagan, Dana’s sister, played softball for Gadsden State.

As for Allie’s sisters, Ashley Bryant played softball for Alabama-Huntsville, and Anna Bryant DJesse played volleyball for a year at Jacksonville State.

The spread for Tuesday’s ceremony to celebrate Allie Bryant’s decision to play volleyball for Gadsden State Community College. (Photo by Joe Medley)

Dana Bryant said seeing Allie have her day is “bittersweet.”

“This is my last go around with my last daughter, but I’m excited that she’s going to keep going.” she said. “I get to be mom. I get to bring snacks and hand them out, right?”

Allie Bryant will continue a lifelong love for volleyball. She began judging line calls at her mom’s matches in fourth grade and played varsity ball from seventh grade through her senior year, evolving from libero, to setter, to hitter/setter to hitter, depending on what her teams needed.

She helped Pleasant Valley to a Class 2A state title as a senior and runner-up finish as a junior. The Raiders also won Calhoun County and regional titles in her senior year.

“In April, she came into this world,” said Dana Bryant, who retired after 18 seasons as Pleasant Valley’s head coach. “In August, she was at her first volleyball game.. …

“Ever since she could walk, she was on the court with me. In kindergarten, she was at every practice with me. With that rich history of volleyball also came a love for the game.”

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