When did you start playing volleyball and when did you know it would be your sport?
I started playing volleyball in the seventh grade, and I actually didn’t play indoor volleyball. I was strictly a beach volleyball player until one of my P.E. coaches at my elementary school told me I should sign up for club volleyball, so I did, and I played for Pacific Palisades Volleyball Club. When I started playing club, I found a lot of guys who had the same interests as me, and many of the guys on my first club team are some of my best friends today, so that’s when I knew I would keep playing.
What has it been like transitioning from a freshman on the team to the captain now?
It’s definitely more fun to be a senior than to be a freshman on varsity, especially being captain this year, you have a lot of power and say in team decisions. For example, Coach [Adam] Black would come up to me before games and ask me what I thought of certain lineups or strategies. It was very fulfilling when I was named captain as a junior because as a freshman, I was always looked down upon and I feel like my skills were overlooked. But I feel this year I’ve been playing my best volleyball yet.
What goes through your mind when you’re on the court?
I think about how to manipulate the opposing team’s defense to put our offense in the best situation possible. I’m always trying to figure out how to spread our hitters out in order to give them the best chance in one-on-one situations.
Do you have any rituals that you do or any music that you listen to before your games?
My pre-game ritual usually consists of peppering [bump, set, spike] with Scott Nussbaum ’15 and setting back and forth to warm up. Right before the game I touch both antennae [on the net] before I start for good luck. It’s something that I’ve been doing ever since I started playing volleyball. As for music, I don’t really listen to music before the game, I try to keep my head clear.
What effect has playing multiple positions had on your game?
I’ve played libero, setter and outside when I was younger for club. So knowing every position is something really important, especially being the captain, because I can help out other players who might be struggling and may need some advice from someone they can look up to on the team. Playing all of these different positions has also let me understand the game a lot better and has helped me improve as a setter since I know the responsibilities of my teammates.
What is the hardest part about being a setter?
The hardest part of setting is trusting that my hitters will run whatever play I tell them. We run a very fast offense so if I hesitate at all, the play won’t work. But this year it’s not as much of a problem since Hudson Ling ’15, Scott Nussbaum and I have been playing together for four years, and have already developed that trust to a level where I don’t have to worry about it as much anymore.