Alex Locati signs

Marshfield's Alex Locati signs her letter of intent to play volleyball for Northwest Christian University alongside Marshfield volleyball coach Tammie Montiel and her dad, Andy Locati, on Monday at Heritage Hall. 

COOS BAY — Alex Locati spent four years as a starter for Marshfield’s volleyball team. On Monday, she committed to continuing in the sport for Northwest Christian University.

“I really like the coach and his program,” Locati said before signing a letter of intent to join the NAIA program in Eugene. “It’s a small school with a good education program.”

Locati plans to study elementary education at Northwest Christian.

Locati was a standout both in volleyball and basketball for the Pirates, earning some level of all-league honors in both sports all four years at Marshfield, but said it was easy to choose volleyball for college.

“I mostly like basketball because of my team,” she said. “I just feel personally I do better in volleyball.”

She will be an outside hitter for the Beacons, but likely will wait a year to see the court in matches, redshirting this fall because Northwest Christian has a bunch of outside hitters already.

Marshfield’s volleyball and basketball coaches both said Locati will be hard to replace this fall.

“She will definitely be missed on the court,” volleyball coach Tammie Montiel said. “It’s hard to replace somebody who has been a starter four years and improved each of those four years.”

And Montiel was quick to point out another one of Locati’s top traits.

“She’s a great student as well,” Montiel said. “It’s always nice when I have volleyball players who make it up to my (calculus and trigonometry) classes.”

Basketball coach Bruce Bryant also praised Locati, who was a key part of Marshfield’s state champion team last winter.

“Alex was my gentle giant, very nice, very kind, concerned about other people,” Bryant said. “Defense was her thing. She does the hard work under the basket. You can’t get enough of that.

“She’s the best post defender I’ve ever had because she works so hard. We’re going to really miss that.”

Locati’s dad, Andy, said it was fun to watch her grow up and grow to love sports “and doing all we could to support that.”

Her mom, Kristin, echoed that thought.

“I’m really proud of her for all the sacrifices she’s made over the past four years,” she said. “All the things that you wanted to do that you didn’t so you could get to this point.”

Northwest Christian competes in the NAIA Cascade Collegiate Conference with other schools including Southern Oregon, Eastern Oregon, Corban, Oregon Tech, Warner Pacific, Multnomah and other schools from Washington and Idaho.

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Sports Editor John Gunther can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 241, or by email at john.gunther@theworldlink.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jguntherworld.