A standout volleyball player from San Jose was found dead of unknown causes in her off-campus apartment near Whittier College in Southern California, officials said.
Alyssa Sialaris, 21, played volleyball for San Jose's Leigh High School and De Anza College in Cupertino before transferring two years ago to Whittier, where she earned multiple honors in both volleyball and track and field.
The cause of death was undetermined, but authorities said there were no visible signs of trauma or foul play. Police said Sialaris was discovered in a bedroom by her roommate on Thursday night.
"Alyssa was a bright young woman, courageous and promising -- a true asset to our campus community," Whittier College President Sharon Herzberger said.
Sialaris was set to graduate next month with academic distinction, after majoring in kinesiology and nutrition science, college officials said.
She had played volleyball since the age of 6. While playing volleyball for Leigh, she was named high school senior of the year for the sport by the Mercury News sports staff. She also competed in track and field events, including the javelin, discus and shot put, for De Anza and Whittier.
Although she had been recruited by other colleges for their track teams, Sialaris said in an interview last November that she chose Whittier College over other schools for both its athletic and academic programs.
"What made the final decision easier for me was I could play volleyball, and I would get the attention in the classroom," she told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
While at Whittier, Sialaris earned multiple honors from the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, the American Volleyball Coaches Association and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. She was named an NCAA All-American in both volleyball and track and field -- and was ranked third nationally in volleyball for kills-per-set.
"She's a fantastic athlete and extraordinarily hardworking," track and field coach Dave Hogan said last fall.
"Alyssa was a tremendous student-athlete and supportive teammate," Whittier College Athletic Director Robert J. Coleman said. "Her energetic spirit, her drive and focus, made her an exceptional competitor and an equally accomplished scholar. No question, this is a tragic loss for our sports community."
Los Angeles News Group staff writer Sandra T. Molina contributed to this report. Contact Brandon Bailey at 408-920-5022.