Meet the Volleyball newcomers: Amy Neal
July 31, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas -- Amy Neal, rated No. 18 in the nation by Prep Volleyball, was the 2011 Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year for the state of Texas. She earned 2011 Prep Volleyball High School All-American honors.
She led Lake Travis to a Texas-record 50-0 season, the Class 4A state title and a No. 2 national ranking in the ESPNHS Fab 50 this past fall. A 2011-12 Under Armour First Team All-American, she recorded 538 kills, 287 digs and 63 service aces.
Neal is a two-time Class 4A State Tournament MVP and a two-time member of the Lone Star Volleyball All-Texas Team. She was named MVP of the USA Volleyball 17 Open Girls' Junior National Championships.
"Amy is a dynamic athlete and can hurt you in many areas. She is very good from the service line, she is a great back row attacker and efficient in the front court," UT head coach Jerritt Elliott said. "Because of what she can do in terms of passing, she gives us some options. Amy's ball control is what we are really excited about. She can be a very good passer at this level."
Neal recently visited with TexasSports.com as she prepares for her freshman season with the Longhorns.
How did you transition to campus and to the team environment this summer? I remember the very first day. We had to run the 'sprint hill,' and (the freshmen) were all so nervous. Going in with the upperclassmen, they helped us adjust and were so supportive. They kept us wanting to keep up with them. You can tell that the team has a lot of chemistry by the way they work out together, because everyone pushes each other to do their best at all times.
Listed as a libero and outside hitter, you have a versatile skill set. How do you keep working sharpen it? Seeing the older players do so well, it makes you want to do better. I was just focusing on every ball (during drills), because I wanted to do my best with everything.
Are you excited to play for The University of Texas in your hometown? I have lived here my entire life. Texas has always been my dream school. I did look at out-of-state schools, but my entire family lives here - sisters, brothers, grandparents, uncles - so they'll be able to come to my games.
My parents have had season tickets to football, basketball and volleyball. I've grown up watching Texas sports, all of them. I've always been a huge Longhorns fan, which is really fun.
As someone who has followed this program, what have you noticed about Texas over the years? Every single year, great players come in, and it's amazing how they can contribute right away. The team is always very balanced. To be on the team, you must have good leadership skills just to keep your role on the court.
Do you feel like you made the right decision to attend UT? Every day, I'm just so happy. There's nothing like this. I'm so thankful that I made the decision. I don't think anywhere is like Texas, it's just amazing. The whole atmosphere is so good, being around all the athletes.