The volleyball team opens its home season Thursday at 10:30 a.m. against Siena in the opening match of the Texas A&M Invitational.
The Aggies will host No. 16 Florida State (Thursday, 7:30 p.m.) and No. 7 Michigan (Friday, 7 p.m.) to close out the weekend. $3 general admission tickets are available at the door to Friday night's match against the Wolverines.
the Aggie sophomore talks playing two sports, her love of the 12th Man and Ryan Seacrest
by Erin Brown '14
Did you grow up playing more than one sport, or was it always volleyball?
“Growing up I played basketball, and that’s what I thought I was going to do. I remember being with one of my best friends, and I was going to try out for club volleyball, and she said ‘I’m gonna go see this movie, do you wanna go with me?’ And I said ‘Yeah! I wanna go for sure!’ And my mom told me I couldn’t go to the movie because I had these club tryouts, and I was like, ‘Mom you’re ruining my life--this is the worst day of my life--why are you doing this to me?’ Then I went to the club tryouts, and ended up making the top team, and every year I kept making the top team, and I got recruited out of that. Volleyball’s the only sport…I mean, I started when I was 12, so I guess that’s the only sport I’ve really played.”
In high school did you keep playing basketball or did you just stick to volleyball?
“I didn’t play in eighth grade. Then freshman year I made JV, because they told me to try out. I tried out for tennis, but I didn’t have a racket. I just showed up and was like, ‘Yeah, I could be good at this.’ But I ended up not doing it because it conflicted too much with volleyball and club. I did track. I still do track.”
Right, you do high jumps here correct? How’s that?
“It’s good, I like it a lot. It’s an individual (event) so it’s way different. Volleyball is very team oriented, but yeah it’s way different. I like it.”
How’s balancing that, and school, and volleyball? Because most people can hardly do one sport, or organization.
“Well, Annie Kunz, she plays soccer, and she’s a year older than me, so she helped me a ton my freshman year. Even though she probably didn’t even know she helped me, she did--because her main sport is in the fall, just like me, so we have similar schedules. Not only were the volleyball coaches really supportive, but also so were the track coaches, and they both genuinely want me to do well in both. So there’s a lot of communication between both sides and that makes it easier. That’s part of the reason why I came here, just because everyone just wants you the be the best person that you can be, and be as happy as possible.”
So that’s the main reason why you chose A&M?
“Yeah for sure, the support. There were a lot of schools that (told me) there’s no way I could do two sports. But the (A&M) volleyball program is very genuine.”
Do you do anything else besides track? Like an organization?
“I do SAAC (Student-Athlete Advisory Committee). I feel like I’m in something else, I just don’t know. I think that’s the main thing. I pretend like I’m in a sorority, but I’m not. I pretend I’m a Chi-O, but I’m not.”
Isn’t someone on the team a Chi-O?
“We have three girls that are also in sororities…two are Chi-Os and one’s a Pi-Phi.”
I read that you have Olympians for parents. How was that growing up? Did they have any influence on you playing sports growing up?
“My parents are very, very open-minded. They are very ‘Whatever you want to do, put your mind and your heart towards it and it will happen’. They never really pressured me to do track, because they both did track, but eventually I kind of found a sport and started to really like it. As far as volleyball, as far as sports in general, they just want me to be the best that I can. They really wanted me to experience as many sports as I could whenever I was really young. It was cool that they did that because I got to travel a ton, and do all that stuff. They are massive influences in my life. I am really close with my family.”
Do you want to do anything after A&M with volleyball or track?
“Well I AM going to be a talk-show host. And volleyball-wise, it would be really cool to play professionally. It would also be really cool to run track professionally. I mean its hard to decide which one I would want to do professionally, just because my time is limited while I’m in college. So after my four years, I for sure want to do one. I don’t know which one, but I’ll for sure want to do one of them.”
What are your favorite parts of being an Aggie, and being a student at A&M?
“The 12th Man. Not very many schools--not very many volleyball programs--get the attendance that we do. That was another thing that really led me to come here. You have football and basketball, those are the sports that are providing money for the universities—but equestrian, soccer, volleyball, track…people don’t usually go to that stuff. Here it does not matter what the sport is, people just want to support the school. The community, the network here is something that you do not find at very many other schools. The support from the community, it’s amazing. We appreciate it a lot, we really appreciate it.”
I know there are people that pick a sport and just diehard support it…
“Yeah. At our maroon and white scrimmage—it was so cool, we were literally playing ourselves—and we still have people that come watch. And it’s just practice for us. It’s awesome when people come up to us and say they can’t wait for the games. I know friends that play at other schools do not experience that, so that’s really cool. That’s my favorite thing.”
Do you have any standout stories from volleyball, team stuff, personal growth, defining moments?
“My freshman year, I didn’t really play that much. I started playing toward the end of the season. We played Missouri, and that was one of my favorite games of the season…that and the Texas game—we lost that game, but it was my personal best game of the season. In the Missouri game, I was a freshman, I wasn’t really playing that much, but my only responsibility was to serve. I would go in, serve, and if I would make my serve, and we won the point, I’d serve again. And if we lost the point I would immediately come out. I wasn’t in very long, but that was my first role on the team that was actually on the court. Especially as a freshman, you really appreciate those little things, and that was my first consistent role. That was the coolest thing, I will never forget that game because I felt such a part of the team, and now my role is a little bit bigger. I wasn’t hitting, or digging crazy balls, but I really appreciated the experience.”
Is there anything else you want to say?
“Follow me on twitter, watch my talk show…”
You have one?
“No, I’m going to.”
Do you blog or anything?
“I’m trying to get into the whole YouTube scene, but I really don’t want to. YouTube is a cool thing. I really respect everyone on YouTube, but that’s just not the route for me. That’s not something I’m trying to become known from. I’m trying to figure out what I want to do this year, that I can do myself.”
You for sure want to work in TV in the future?
“Oh yeah…definitely! I am for sure doing that. This is my thing…A&M is an awesome school, but there’s not a broadcasting major/minor or anything like that. I’m trying to pave the path for future Aggies. I’m a very confident, very determined person, and my parents are so open-minded so they’re so supportive. I could say I’m going to touch the sun, and they would say ‘we are going to help you touch the sun’. So I am very determined to do that. Whatever it takes, it’s about helping people in the future. The Aggie Network is massive in corporate America, but you don’t see it in media really.”
Is there any show specifically that you want to work on or that inspired you to want to pursue TV?
“This is how I see my life happening…I meet Ryan Seacrest, he loves me, I work for E! News for a little bit. Then after living in LA for a few years, a producer is going to say ‘Oh man we love you’ and they’re going to pick me up for their show. And I live the rest of my life like Chelsea Handler. That’s what I expect to happen. So anything on E!, any dramatic, fake, reality TV show, anything on Bravo.”
So nothing in the sports world at all? I know Michelle Beadle started at E!, then she went to ESPN and now other places…
“I am just so into pop culture, it’s not even funny. It’s just all I care about. You cannot convince me that I am not related to the Kardashians, I know I am. I just love all of that stuff…fashion, music, all the award ceremonies. I’m just so into it. I want to talk about something I’m interested in. Like I could sit there and pretend I care about some big guy tackling some other big, sweaty guy, but I’m not. I’m more interested in what Selena Gomez wore to the VMA’s.”