Brock Badgers defensive standout inspired by family

Aleiah Torres lives by the motto: “the work I put in now will reward me with a better future.”

The saying, which she learned from her mother, Naiome Galit, has carried true on and off the volleyball court.

It’s also why Torres believes the Brock women’s volleyball team is back at the national championships in British Columbia.

“Everyone has been working hard since September. There’s been a lot of sacrifices from the team, and the standards we have set for ourselves are high,” she said. “The commitment we’ve made to achieve our ambitions will make all of the sacrifices so rewarding in the end.”

As a third-year Medical Sciences student from Toronto, Torres is powered and inspired to compete thanks to her mother and family.

“My mom has motivated me since the beginning of my volleyball career and taught me to be selfless and giving to those around me,” said Torres, who has dreams of one day playing professionally in front of family overseas in the Philippines. “We also have a saying ‘we before me’ and it influences me to make choices beyond my personal desires.”

Growing up in a single-parent household, Torres is one of four children and said her mother made sure to prioritize education first before her sport and social life.

“She’s so supportive and always wants the best for me,” Torres said. “She has been such a great role model to me, and the hardest working mom ever. She’s taught me that nothing is given, and I must work hard to achieve success.”

A defensive standout libero for the Badgers, Torres was named an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) First Team All-Star at the end of the regular season for the first time in her career. She finished second in the conference with 295 digs and 4.21 digs per set for the second consecutive season.

Torres racked up 20 digs and four assists during Brock’s thrilling comeback victory over Queen’s in the conference championship game on March 11.

Now, Torres and the No. 2-seeded Badgers have their sights on No. 1 at the U SPORTS Championships in Vancouver. They finished sixth overall at the tournament last year.

After falling to the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds 3-1 in the quarter-finals on Friday, March 17, Brock will move on to the consolation bracket, playing next on Saturday, March 18.

Where the Badgers find themselves is one of the reasons Torres decided to attend Brock University in 2019. She was drawn to Brock’s Medical Sciences program and knew head coach Steve Delaney from her club, the Halton Hurricanes, which he coached.

“Steve Delaney was a big factor in my decision to select Brock,” Torres said. “One thing I knew about Steve was that he loves to win, and so do I. I knew that if I chose to come to Brock, he would mould the team to become winners, and that’s what I wanted to be a part of while pursuing my education.”

Torres was first introduced to volleyball during a Grade 5 gym class. She quickly became obsessed with the sport and would train whenever she was free.

“My teacher was also a volleyball coach and thought I was naturally talented with the ball control aspect of the game,” she said. “I started volleying everything and did ball control drills at home all the time.”

She joined her first club team, the Etobicoke Titans, at the age of 12 before moving to the Halton Region Volleyball Club where she won multiple provincial and national titles.

“I thought it was a huge impact for our program to have Aleiah join our team at Brock,” said Delaney. “To have her level of ball control for serve-receive and defence was huge. She was also a beach volleyball provincial champion, so she’s a greater competitor. With Halton, I always remember her coming to practice with her mom, brothers and sisters in tow. You can see and hear their support today at our Brock games.”

Torres describes her mother at games as the loudest supporter in the gym.

“She’s small but has a mighty loud voice that echoes with enthusiasm and words of encouragement,” she said.

With that encouragement in mind, Torres will remember her mother’s example along with her words as she takes the court.

“My mom is always one to share, include, sacrifice and provide for her family,” she said. “I carry that with me wherever I go.”

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