VB: Mavs Hold Pre-Conference Media Day

Sept. 18, 2017

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The UTA volleyball team held a pre-conference media opportunity on Monday at the College Park Center, previewing the league season that begins this weekend with a pair of home contests. Below is a brief sampling of some of their quotes from various interviews. 

Head Coach J.T. Wenger

On positives he took from the weekend …
"We served pretty tough which is something that we've put a priority on in this program since February. We continued that trend, put our opponents in some tough situations and just have to continue to capitalize."

On the roster and lineup …
"You never know what is going to happen, that is the beauty of college sports. We need everyone to be ready. It is one of those things where everybody is on the roster for a reason and when they get their time, they better be ready."

On which players are the 'jokesters' of the team …
"Allie (Deese) and Madison (Helt) for sure. I'd say Tessa (Harfield) naturally embodies that role. Those are three of the jokers that stand out. It is nice to have a mix of people in general. The reality is that with a college roster, and 14 people, you are going to have a collection of different personalities. Not everyone has to be, or you would want to be, exactly the same. It is certainly nice to have some people who can provide some levity at times."

Student-Athlete Quotes

Fr., S Kailyn Gilbreath
On how she has progressed halfway through the year …
"I feel a lot more comfortable. The bonds with my teammates has gotten stronger as the season goes on."


 

 

On adjusting to a full-time position role as a setter …
"I ran a 6-2 in club. I didn’t really set in high school. I've done it before but it is a little bit different as a setter full time. It gives me more of a leadership role, I get to touch the ball, being a setter forces you to be a leader and that has gotten better."

On how she got into the sport …
"My mom. Ever since I was little I've been in the gym. She was a coach for eight or nine years and I basically grew up in the gym so I had a passion for it at a young age and got into camps, started doing club and all of that."

On understanding the game as a setter …
"I think as a setter your leadership role has to be heighted touching every ball but even outside the court representing myself well and all of the things that go along with being a college athlete. So I feel like I've grown and my role has progressed as the season has gone on."

R-Fr., L Madison Smith
On her progress from a knee injury …
"I'm feeling better with my knee. I feel like I've come along way. It is just about getting strength back in the knee. Weights have helped and it still feels weak but we still do rehab and it is obviously going to be a bit weaker until I can push it in the offseason. I've come along way but I still have a long way to go."

On watching Libbie Vickers emerge in the unfamiliar libero role due to injuries …
"Libbie has done an awesome job, digging deep and taking that role on mentally, physically, everything. You have to be a really talkative person on the back row so I think that she's done a really great job with that."

Fr., OH Cameryn Zahradnik
On the transition from high school to college volleyball …
"It has been a different experience comparing high school to college. It is a whole new ballgame."

On following in the footsteps of her mother, a UTA volleyball great …
"She was a record setter and she is in the athletics hall of fame and people can see that as carrying on her legacy but I want to start my own legacy, so it's not really a legacy that feel pressured that I'm carrying on. She is really good with tips and pointers. She's played the college game and knows it better than I do."

On adjustments of being a college freshman student-athlete …
"Time management. I feel like every college student goes through that. Time management and managing your responsibility. And living with someone else. It is a different ballgame when you are living with someone who isn't your family that you've live with all of your life."

Jr., DS/OH Libbie Vickers
On the transition to libero …
"At first it was really more of a surprise than anything. I've had support from every single teammate, my parents and my coaches. It is something that I told J.T. I would be comfortable with if we were in that situation. So far I'd say I done well and hopefully it continues."

On the importance of leadership from the libero …
"Absolutely. I haven't always been a defensive player, in high school I was a hitter, but I've always been a captain or a leader on the teams I've played on so I feel like that has prepared me for this role. I've had a lot of help from Madelyn (St. Germain) on how to talk to the hitters."

So., S Haley Higgins
On adjusting to the division I level in 2017 …
"It has been a huge adjustment. It's a lot bigger school and more people than I'm used to so it has been different but a lot of fun."

On some adjustments she is making during the year …
"A lot of maturity is needed. To work super hard on the court and then off the court doing my job of being supportive and being a good teammate."

On the importance of communication from the setter role …
"Being a setter is like being a captain on the football team. If you are not talking to your teammates then the whole system can shut down. You have to be constantly calling plays, understanding the game, talking to your teammates and being supportive and that is something that I see the main job of the setter for us."

R-Jr., MB Allie Deese
On her progress from an injury …
"It is going good, I am feeling a lot better, which is good."

On her injury …
"I tore my MCL my senior year of high school and it really just flared up recently. Last spring is when it really started to impact me again."

On how she got into the sport …
"I started in seventh grade. The day before tryouts I looked at my parents and said, 'I want to play volleyball,' and they were shocked. I had a late start. Most girls start when they are little. I played that first year on the C team, then eventually got better and progressed to here."

On her bond with Madison Helt
"We live together and we are obviously best friends. We are different positions and different ages so there is never any competition between us. We talk to each other about everything. She's hurt and now I'm hurt so we get what each other is going through. Best friends."

R-So., S Madison Helt
On how she started playing the game …
"I started playing in third grade, just a little rec volleyball, because my mom played in high school. She coached my team up until I was in sixth grade. That was a big reason why I wanted to play because I wanted to be like her. I started playing club at Mad Frog and loved it ever since."

On her skill as a server …
"It is something I work hard on now. I practice serving a lot. It is something I've progressed with. And I've been able to change some things which has been a good transition."

On her post-graduate aspirations …
"I want to go to physician's assistant school, hopefully specializing in oncology. Another three years of school on top of my undergrad."

So., OH Kylie Jedlicka
On if she felt like the mono impacted her before it's diagnosis …
"I did. Even just walking down to class on campus, I would have to sit down and I would have no clue why I was so exhausted. Then playing, it almost effected my shoulder the most because I would feel so achy after and I couldn't figure out why."

On returning from mono for a four-match weekend …
"Honestly nothing can prepare you for the amount of cardio in volleyball. I was feeling it but it wasn't anything I couldn’t handle. Hopefully that struggle with make me better."

On when she started playing volleyball …
"I started club when I was 10 years old. I played YMCA since I was five or six. My sister played volleyball at the University of Arkansas at Monticello so she was an influence on me. We would always play in the back yard when I was really young."

So., OH Madison McConnell
On her comfort level as a sophomore…
"I feel a lot more comfortable now knowing what to expect is nice."

On her commitment to strength and conditioning …
"I lived in Houston pretty much all of my life and had a really great trainer there. When I moved up here, my coach was a great trainer, so coming into college I felt like that was a big aspect that I valued."

On what has helped her transition as a sophomore …
"Definitely just gaining experience. College is a lot faster than anything we had played before. Coming into our second year I feel like we are both more comfortable and are understanding the college game more which is helping our confidence."

On when she started playing the game  …
"I got into volleyball in around seventh grade. I was a gymnast for eight years and when that dream ended I took up volleyball because it was something that my sister did and I thought I would try it. I ended up loving the sport."

Sr., OH Ashlynn Ford
On her role as a senior …
"It is pretty cool being a senior. We have a good group, each of us has different personalities so it is easy for us to lead, rely on each other and get along with everybody."

On how her four-year classmates Zhanelle Geathers and Qiana Canete have grown …
"They've grown a lot since we got here. We all have, we are older. Q has a big role and Z is stepping in and changing positions and doing it well."

On Geathers' transition to a different positional role …
"She's just so athletic it just hasn't been that hard for her. She was always trained as a middle blocker but she has grown into it really well."

On how she has grown during her career …
"I have definitely grown since freshman year. My experience here has made me a better person and will help me going forward."

On what she wants to do after graduation …
"I want to teach and coach. I want to stay involved in volleyball since it is my life."

On how she can draw on experience from two different coaching staffs …
"Two completely different coaching styles too. Seeing how different coaches approach situations has been a really great experience for me and is something that I can really take in and apply later on when I could be in that role."

On her introduction to the sport …
"I started playing when I was 13. That was just for middle school. I started playing club when I was 15. I've never really looked back after falling in love with the sport."

FOLLOW THE MAVS SOCIALLY
For up-to-date news, photos, videos and updates you can follow UTA sports program online at UTAMavs.com or via any of several social media accounts on twitter @UTAMavs, Instagram @UTAMavs, Snapchat @UTAMavs and Facebook at UTArlingtonAthletics. Follow @UTAVolleyball on twitter and at UTAVolleyball on Facebook. 

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