Catching up with Lauren Paolini
June 8, 2009
Former Texas All-American Lauren Paolini's volleyball adventure continues. Earlier this spring, she traveled with USA Volleyball to Egypt, went with her Longhorns on a European tour in May and is now in California training once again with the U.S. national team.
Roster spots are available on the national team for tournaments this summer, including Grand Prix events in Brazil, Taipei and Thailand in July and August.
TexasSports.com recently caught up with Paolini, who talked about her latest endeavor with the red, white and blue.
What does the opportunity to return to USA Volleyball mean to you? It's an amazing opportunity for me to return to USA Volleyball and be able to train with the best players in the country, especially at this point in my career. I have exhausted my college eligibilty, but I am still looking for any opportunity to continue my career and to keep getting better. Not only am I training with the best players in the country but I am also getting the opportunity to be coached by volleyball legends -- not to mention, I get to spend the summer in California!
What opportunities will you have with USA Volleyball this summer? Will you be training, playing, etc.? When we are not traveling and playing, we will be training in Anaheim, Calif., where the Men's National Team currently trains as well.
Head coach Hugh McCutcheon led the U.S. men to a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics. What does it mean to get to train with him this summer? It is the most amazing opportunity to be able to train with an Olympic gold medal coach. He is a great coach and really knows how to teach the game. He brings a new perspective to the women's game, teaching us many techniques that have proved to be successful for the men's team. Not only is Hugh an outstanding coach but he is also a great person and role model. He is very well respected and knows how to create a fun and competitive atmosphere in the gym.
Where and how long will you be training? I arrived in Anaheim on June 5, shortly after we returned from the Texas Volleyball European Tour and will be here training until mid to late August. I am returning to Austin in the fall to finish up the last of my degree so I will have to get back in time to start class.
What is like to train and play with some of the best players in the world? It is an unbelievable opportunity. Playing with Olympic Silver Medalists and being coached by an Olympic Gold Medalist ... it doesn't get much better than that! Because I am such a visual learner, I feel like I am learning so much every day just by being in the same gym as these tremendous athletes and coaches.
Earlier this year you had the chance to travel to Egypt with USA Volleyball. Can you tell us what that experience was like? It was a great opportunity to play volleyball internationally and get to experience a different culture. We were only in Cairo for a week but squeezed in two matches against the Egyptian National Team and left plenty of time to sight-see. This was also my first opportunity to train with Hugh McCutcheon, which was very exciting for me. The purpose of the trip was to create a friendly relationship with the Egyptian National Team so we had a lot of opportunities to get to know the players and spend some time with them. It was overall a really great experience.