When, where and why did you start to play volleyball? That's something you have ever dreamed of? What's your best volleyball memory?
I was 15 years old when I started playing volleyball it was my third year in high school, I had been a swimmer till then. I never really thought about volleyball as a sport, but when I began playing I began getting letters to play at different colleges and it was very appealing to me to be able to go play a sport I found fun and learn at a university. My best volleyball memory… that would have to be all the memories I have had over the past years with my different teams. Can not say I have just one, but I guess if I had to pick….going to my first Olympics with the national team. It was an awesome experience and something I will never forget.
Your story about how you started to play is a little crazy... When did you realize volleyball could be a job for you? Do you think you're a lucky girl?
I am a very fortunate person. Volleyball has given me so many wonderful experiences in life. Anyone that has the opportunity to play a sport and travel the world is lucky. I don’t know if I have ever viewed volleyball as a job. I think that would take all the fun away from it. I still have so much fun playing every year no matter what team I am on I look to enjoy myself. Playing the game is the only time I am truly happy.
This years you'll be 30. Can you make an assessment of your career?
Ha…30…my career is right where it should be. I am not looking to be here forever so I just try to enjoy what I do and play as well as I can and help the team I am on be its best. I know my body will not allow me to play forever, but till it tells me stop I am gonna be here laughing and enjoying myself.
Jesi was having problems with strong teams, but now it seems that it got in the "right way". What changed in the team (that made this "turnaround" possible) and what are the chances of Jesi in the championship?
The season Jesi is struggling, that’s true. We have had a few problems trying to find what play works best for us. Like any team you have to give it time to grow and mature and we unfortunately play in a league that is very demanding every week, so for players hat are not used to the level find it difficult to perform 100% every week. But I have faith that we will do our best and arrive in the playoffs and no one knows what happens then. Game by game if we can improve and play better then yes we can make it to the finals.
During the Champions League you played some time as opposite. What was like to play in a position that you’re not used to?
For me playing a different role is always and experience. It helps me see that everyone has different responsibilities. And shows me how special my teammates are, and how important they are to our team as a whole. I enjoy hitting high balls, but I honestly believe that Elisa is much better suited for that role than I am.
Championships like World Cup and World Championship are played very far away from home and in a short amount of time. What is like to play so many games in a row and how do you keep in shape to endure this "marathon"?
International tournaments are very tough…both mentally and physically. We prepare for a long time for the conditions by the way our coaching staff creates our workouts when we are still at home training. Once we arrive at the country for the tournament we try to get as much rest as possible and do all the therapy needed to keep us healthy. Plus once you are there playing you kinda forget how long it is. You just have to focus on one game to the next. Makes the time go by very fast. But almost all of the work is done before we even set foot in the organizing country.
The qualification for the OG'08 in 2007 World Cup made you and all the American team satisfied, even without the 1st place? It was a good chance to get prepared and show to the world how promising is the USA team to Beijing's games?
Yes our performance in Japan this last November was very welcomed from our team point of view. We have a wonderful group of girls that work hard. Its was wonderful to see everything finally come together. We are all looking forward to the summer games, and hopefully we can have a similar outcome with possibly a little bit more improvement.
Do you think USA has some chance of winning OG? What teams do you consider to be favorites?
It is really difficult to say who can win the Gold in Beijing. I believe that there are about 5 teams that have to opportunity to make it on the podium. Hopefully one of the being USA in the end, but everything changes when the games arrive. Teams are stiff working out kinks and trying to place the best teams they have in the games. We definitely have a shot at receiving a medal. What color??? We will have to wait till the end of August to find out. But at that point if you can go home with an Olympic medal in the end the color really won’t matter.
Do you have any superstitions (related to matches)?
I actually do not. I know a lot of athletes that do, but I am pretty calm in that respect. I just go and play. Obviously focusing before a match is key, but doing anything out of the ordinary…no
What are your next goals?
Next goals…I’m still working on my current ones. When these are complete I will set some new ones. But for right now my goal is to help the US team win in Beijing.
Thanks VMS-Volley.com for the picture.