Former Texas A&M standout setter Allie Sawatzky joins the professional volleyball ranks, having signed to play for Renata Valinhos/Country in Valinhos, Brazil.
Sawatzky, who started every match during her Aggie career from 2010-13 and twice earned AVCA Honorable Mention All-America accolades, looked into the opportunity of playing at the professional level after a first-place finish and being named MVP in the Women’s AA Division at the USA Volleyball National Championships in May.
“Playing in nationals really made me miss playing indoors,” said Sawatzky, who married Michael Colby in October. “I’ve been playing a lot of sand volleyball in Houston, but there isn't really a big indoor scene around here. Nationals re-sparked my interest, and when my husband mentioned [playing professional volleyball] would be cool to do for a year or two, I agreed.”
As a senior, the lefty attacking setter directed the Aggies to a third consecutive second- round appearance in the NCAA Championship and was the recipient of Texas A&M’s prestigious Bill Erwin Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award for outstanding academic and athletic performances. Sawatzky graduated from A&M in 2014 and was accepted into physician assistant school at Midwestern University in Glendale, Arizona. The Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada native completed the program in 2017 and began working in a family practice clinic in the Houston area in November, but the opportunity to play volleyball at the professional level was something she couldn’t turn down.
“I have another 40 years to be a PA, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I couldn't pass up,” said Sawatzky, who will be making her first-ever trip to Brazil and joining her new team later this month.
She also recently posted on Facebook and Instagram, “So thankful for the sport of volleyball. It has brought amazing memories, wonderful friends, and this awesome supportive husband of mine. Not quite ready to be done, so in a few weeks I'll be heading to Brazil to play professional volleyball for the upcoming season! Ready to explore a new country, learn Portuguese, and compete in a sport I love so much!”