The NDP Varsity team celebrates a point at the Flagstaff High vs NDP match in Flagstaff. Players from left, Denae Pitts, Ally Alessio, Madison White, Catherine Malloy, Alexa Demoss, McKenna Douglas. Tuesday, Nov. 3. Staff Photo/Harvey Photography.
Something was evidently wrong the moment she did not get back up. She laid on the court motionless for a little too long. Everything moved in slow motion around her. The trainer rushing to the court, the dog pound kneeling in respect, she squeezed her eyes shut attempting to lessen the pain in her knee.
Madison White moved to Arizona from Danville, CA during the summer of 2020 before her junior year. She was born at Cedar-Sinai hospital in LA and moved to Danville when she was about one-year-old. Years later, she attended Monta Vista High School and was an outside hitter on the varsity team.
White was born to play sports with athletics in her blood. Her father, John White, played football all of his life and almost played in college, and her mother, Jocelyn, played soccer and a little bit of volleyball. Her start in the game, however, did not originate from her mother. White’s friends were all involved in the sport and she decided to give it a try.
Moving to Arizona was nerve-racking for White, but she said, “The [NDP] team is amazing athletically and as people. I’ve never experienced that on a team before where there was just no disunity among the group, and I think that’s really special.”
The NDP varsity team went on to achieve a perfect in-season record with fourteen wins and currently, two state tournament wins. Along with the record, White received a Player of the Match award and the Offensive Player of the Year award; however, she contributed more than just her skill to the team. Denae Pitts, NDP senior, varsity setter, and team captain, said when she first met White she could tell, “she was like a light on the court, and I knew I wanted to know her.”
Her skill did not go unnoticed though. She is committed to playing at USC for sand volleyball. On the topic, she said, “I was really prepared, honestly, to be recruited; nevertheless, it was still stressful, but it was a really smooth recruiting journey, and I will forever be grateful for that.”
Everyone playing with, coaching, and watching White knows there is something different about her. Holly McLean, NDP Varsity head coach said, “She definitely was an inspiration to a lot of people and especially the younger players on the team just because she was fearless. She has this energy where she wasn’t super loud or super vocal but you could just tell that people really are drawn to her.”
However, an unexpected obstacle appeared that halted everything in her life. At a game in Flagstaff on Nov. 3, White went up for a soft roll shot but landed painfully. She ended up tearing her ACL and MCL and getting a compression fracture in her femur. She is predicted to be out of play for the rest of the season and months after.
Despite the difficulties she is currently facing, she is keeping a positive attitude on the entire situation. She said, “I just remind myself that I’m not the only one going through this, and other people have gone through similar things in the past. They have recovered and they’re just as good as they were before they’re just as strong as they were before.”
Looking back at her career in volleyball White said, “I think you learn so much from being an athlete. I don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t one, what kind of person I would be.” White is grateful for the opportunities volleyball has given her, and she is excited to see where her journey takes her despite the challenges that are inevitable along the way.
Madison jumps up for a back-row attack against Cactus High School. Players from Left, Denae Pitts, Madison White, Ally Alessio, McKenna Douglas. Thursday, Sept. 24. Staff Photo/Harvey Photography