Volleyball newcomers eager to work, learn and win
For Texas Volleyball rookies RuthAnn Feist, Kiley Hall and Lauren Paolini, the move to The University of Texas has been a journey that has made the freshmen realize their potential and given them all a home to develop it.
Even though each comes from a different high school experience, as a group they all seem to agree on one thing: that playing at the collegiate level is faster and more challenging both mentally and physically.
A three-time state MVP at the Baytown Christian Academy and a native of Wallisville, Texas, the 6-5 Feist admits, "My private high school was small and speed of the game was a lot slower with no real competition."
Now coming into the University of Texas program, she, along with the other players, face harder drills, longer practices, faster paced games and top-notch athletes.
"The transition was rough at first," Paolini said. "In college, we do not just have the one or two good players on the other team to worry about. Now we have to remember aspects of our opponent's whole team and adjust for each particular possession."
Paolini, a 6-5 player out of Ann Arbor's Saline High School who was one of the most coveted recruits in the country last year, also knows her training with USA Volleyball's 2005 A2 Junior National Team this past summer helped give her an extra step in her transition process between high school and college.
For the 5-8 Hall, a former Orange County Volleyball Club member who played both club and high school volleyball with UT sophomore libero Alyson Jennings at Newport Harbor High School in Costa Mesa, Calif., learning a new technique that was opposite from what she was taught growing up has been her focus since arriving at the 40 Acres, and credits her coaching staff and teammates for her progress.
"The team atmosphere here is indescribable," Hall said. "Buying into the system the coaching staff has developed, and knowing that you have a group of players you can depend on, gets me excited about the things I know we can accomplish as a whole."
Her fellow newcomers could not agree more when it comes to team chemistry.
Each player acknowledges that without her new support group, comprised of coaches, staff and nine other remarkable female athletes, they would not be on the successful track that they currently are.
The freshmen have learned to depend on the people around them for help on and off the court, and know that their team is there whenever they need them.
Feist, Hall and Paolini all realize that they are here for a purpose and are ready to prove that they are up for the challenge.
"My expectations for the season are to see the team go far into the playoffs, and by that I mean to the top," Hall said.
Paolini backs her up with her goals of "wanting to win the Big 12 championship and be successful during postseason play."
These eager and excited newcomers know they have progress and improvements to make, but all plan to keep learning quickly in order to get better in every aspect of the game.
The three rookies all set the basic same goal for themselves for this season: to work hard to contribute to the team's success this year.
With the positive attitudes each one of these newcomers possesses, the Longhorns should be excited about the team's possibilities in 2005.