« Volleyball 2018

Ali Bastianelli

School

University of Illinois

Position
Middle Blocker
Major
Community Health: hospital planning and admin.

Classroom

A community health major with a focus in hospital planning and administration with a minor in adult development in the University of Illinois Applied Health Science College, Ali Bastianelli owns a 3.56 cumulative grade-point average. Not only a leader on the field and in the community, Bastianelli also leads by example in the classroom having distinguished herself through multiple honors and accolades. She is a two-time Big Ten Conference Distinguished Scholar honoree as well as a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and has also been named the Applied Health Sciences Deans List in the fall of 2017 and spring of 2018. Bastianelli is also a member of the prestigious Chi Alpha Sigma Honor Society, which recognizes outstanding college student-athletes for their successes both on the field and in the classroom.

Character

A four-year starter for the Illinois volleyball team, Bastianelli shows her character in every aspect of her life, whether it is in the classroom, serving in the community or by leading on the court while setting an example for underclassmen. Bastianelli has served on the Illinois Athletics Student-Athlete Advisory Committee as the volleyball team representative and has helped to organize the annual Jock Jams event—a student-athlete talent show that raises money for charitable causes—and its ticket sales. Along with her servant-leadership, Bastianelli has shown her character through her determination and fight after injuring her shoulder during her freshman season. After having shoulder surgery following her rookie campaign, Bastianelli rehabbed and trained for seven months to be ready for her sophomore season—a season in which she led the NCAA in blocks per set and total blocks while earning American Volleyball Coaches Honorable Mention All-America and All-Big Ten accolades.

Community

Along with athletics and academics, Bastianelli has put a focus on giving back to the community that supports the team. Bastianelli and the volleyball squad have adopted two local elementary schools in Champaign, and Bastianelli has been a regular volunteer at many events since she arrived on campus, including Walk to School Day, Family Fun Night, reading programs and pep rallies. Bastianelli was also involved in the team’s adoption of the Cunningham Children’s Home and volunteering with their kids. Along with this, Bastianelli has mentored female students at Garden Hills Elementary School, while also volunteering for Big Brothers/Big Sisters—including their annual I-Bowl Fundraiser—and at the Second and Seven Foundation during their reading events for second-graders throughout her entire collegiate career.

A youth volleyball camp coach, Bastianelli has also volunteered with the Challenger League, a baseball league focused on children with varying degrees of physical or mental challenges, to provide a safe environment for kids to enjoy themselves. As her team’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee representative for three years, Bastianelli helped organize her team’s effort in the all-student-athlete charity fundraiser Jock Jams and in assembling baskets of food for families each year at Thanksgiving.

Competition

A four-year starter for the nationally ranked Illinois volleyball team, Bastianelli has started in all 107 matches the Illini have played over the last four seasons and has helped lead UI to a pair of NCAA Sweet 16 appearances. She opened her Illinois career in strong fashion, earning All-Big Ten Freshman Team honors in 2015, before being named All-Big Ten the last two seasons. A two-time American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Northeast Region, Bastianelli earned AVCA All-America Third Team accolades as a junior and was an honorable mention All-America selection as a sophomore. She was also named a PrepVolleyball.com honorable mention All-America honoree in 2016 and collected All-America Third Team accolades a season ago. She has also collected four Big Ten weekly accolades with a Freshman of the Week nod and three Defensive Player of the Week awards, while also being named to four all-tournament teams, including the Billiken Invitational in 2016, the Cardinal Classic and Bobcat Classic in 2017 and this season’s Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge. A 2018 Preseason All-Big Ten selection, Bastianelli led the NCAA in blocks per set (1.79) and total blocks (201) as a sophomore and is currently the NCAA active career leader with a 1.58 blocks per set average and 607 total blocks in her four seasons at Illinois. Most recently, the senior became just the second-ever Illini to reach 600 career total blocks and is just 46 blocks away from the program record. Bastianelli also sits in second place in program history with 555 block assists.

(All stats as of nomination time.)