Catching up with Juliann Faucette
May 25, 2010
Juliann Faucette has been a sparkplug for the Texas Volleyball team since the day she arrived on campus. She's grown from the national and Big 12 Freshman of the Year three years ago to one of the acknowledged leaders for the Longhorns.
This week, Faucette joins three other UT teammates - Rachael Adams, Jennifer Doris and Sydney Yogi - at the U.S. Women's Volleyball A2 program training camp in Phoenix, Ariz. The 2010 U.S. Women's National A2 Team includes four setters, 10 outside/opposite hitters, six middle blockers and four liberos. The 24 players come from 18 different collegiate programs.
Faucette believes this program will help her grow into more of a leader, and recently talked with TexasSports.com about her evolution as a player.
You've always been looked on as a leader, but now since you are a senior do you feel that your responsibilities have changed? I definitely would say that my leadership role has been upped more in terms of responsibility, but I think last year was a really good development process for me to be captaining with Heather (Kisner) and Ashley (Engle), just to see how they lead, but I think this year is going to be a pretty big role for me.
This past season was significant in so many ways, how do you go about healthfully putting that away and transitioning into a new year? I think you have to keep in consideration the new team that we have. That is first, but also keeping in mind what we did to get there last year. It is kind of a double-sided sword where you have last year where we almost made it all the way through, but we didn't. So, you kind of have to keep that in mind and carry that over but at the same time it's a brand new team with different personnel. You kind of just have to start all over, knowing what it takes to get there.
How did you deal with the emotional impact of that final match? It is kind of a blur. I went home and it was nice to just spend some time with my family. Also, just to see how great it was for our team to experience all of that. I think losing by two points you can't really be mad. Yes, we were up 2-0, but at the same time that was a completely different team (Penn State) that came out during that third game. So, it took me a while to really realize these things, but that is exactly what I did was look at the positives about it and definitely was thankful that we made it all the way there because that was an awesome experience.
How does your training as a gymnast during childhood affect the way you play volleyball? I think starting out as a gymnast you learn how to be really balanced. I started at four and did that all the way up until I was about 12. Just building up the core strength and being able to hold myself up really helped. Of course there were moments where I was not so graceful because I just grew six inches in one summer.
What is the key to being a competitive gymnast? I think gymnasts are really disciplined. It was a really hard transition for me to go from an individual to a team sport because you really focus on yourself and the only person that is messing up is you. When I made that transition it was pretty hard, because I was always kind of internally frustrated with myself but you have to give as a team player.
When did you decide to move on to volleyball, and why volleyball? I actually had a cheerleader moment. I did that for two years, it was really fun and I loved it. But after that it was my ninth grade year and high school sports were a really big thing. In high school I decided I wanted to be involved in sports, in volleyball. My dad put me in a volleyball camp because I was getting taller, and I didn't really like basketball. He talked to one of his coaches from when he was coaching at SMU, he talked to the volleyball coach there and she said that I should try it out. I fell in love with it the very first day.
What hooked you? It was a more graceful sport. Playing volleyball you don't really have any contact except for the floor and the ball. It is a graceful, but aggressive sport at the same time.
What is the biggest difference in you now versus three years ago? I would have to say my maturity level and knowledge of the game. I think I appreciate more of the finesse of the game now then I ever have. I think as you go on and mature in the game that is something you learn. When you first start out you just want to get the ball and get all of the kills. That's fun, but at the same time there is a different side of it. I developed into a passer, I am a defensive player; it is more about how I control the ball, what I can do with it. Personally, I have a different game than most people because I have a lot of power, but I think the hardest part for me is learning how to control it. I think in my ethr years here that is something that I have developed and appreciate more. I have not mastered it, but definitely appreciate it.
During your offseason training, what is your primary focus? I definitely enjoy the challenge of actually having to be the leader this year. I think that after being one of the starters here for three years that is finally something that is on my shoulders. I embrace that challenge; at first it was really hard for me because I put a lot of pressure on myself, even with just spring training. As the spring season went on, I definitely embraced it and the fact that I have a lot of responsibility with this team.