Conversation: Michelle Moriarty
Freshman setter, Michelle Moriarty has already made a large impact on the Texas volleyball program in her first few months on the Forty Acres. Her talent, leadership, and intensity have been influential as she has helped guide the Longhorns to their second best start (15-1) in school history. A native of Houston, Moriarty has stayed close to home to play her college volleyball, and it has paid huge dividends for the Longhorns. With Moriarty at the helm of the Longhorns attack the team is leading the Big 12 in hitting percentage, and has their eyes set on a conference championship. TexasSports.com recently caught up with the freshman setter and talked with her about her family, team travels, and her desire to play quarterback for the Horns.
How exciting has it been for you to come in this year as a freshman and play such an important role on the team? Talk a little about your role.
MM: It has been really exciting coming in and getting to play right away. (Head Coach) Jerritt (Elliott) told me from the beginning that I had a chance to start when I got here. I knew that if I worked hard I would have the opportunity to play. It has been really great to play an important role, but everyone on the team plays an important role. It has been a lot of fun to be able to be on the court so early in my career.
What have you enjoyed the most this school year as you have made the adjustment to life in Austin and to life at the University of Texas?
MM: I really like hanging out with the girls a lot and having the chance to make new friends. Coming out of high school and leaving all of my friends behind was sad, but it has been great to meet so many new people. The atmosphere in general and all of the different people at UT have been really great. Being out on my own has been fun, and I have enjoyed getting to take care of myself and do whatever I want to do.
The great start that the team has put together so far this season has been very impressive. Talk a little about what the team's early success has meant to you. Are you surprised at the high levels of success this year or was it expected?
MM: It has meant a lot to be so successful this season because we came in and worked so hard in the preseason. We really worked hard because we knew that we could be a really good team. It has been kind of surprising, but not really because we knew that we had a lot of talent and had the ability to make each other work hard, and come together and make a really good team.
The team lost its first match of the season last week at Texas A&M. How can the team and you personally take that loss and turn it into a positive?
MM: I think the loss can definitely be a positive for us. I think the loss gives us a new focus and a new determination. It shows us that we have to work hard for everything and that people are not going to just give us the game, and that we really do have to earn each win. We knew that, but the more you win, the more you lose focus of that. I think the loss really put things in perspective for us.
Talk a little bit about your demeanor on the court and the leadership that you have displayed on the court during your first season.
MM: I have always had a really focused attitude when I am on the court. My demeanor is always focused, and I want to go win. I am just a really competitive person. As a setter there is always some leadership responsibility right away. You are kind of like the quarterback running the plays and running the offense. It is kind of expected because I have been setting my whole life and I have always had that type of role even when I have played with older people.
If you could play any other sport at the University of Texas, what would you play? Why? What position?
MM: I have always loved basketball and I would love to be a point guard on the basketball team. And even though it sounds kind of weird I would love to be a pitcher on the baseball team because I think that it would be a lot of fun.
… Your bio says that you played several sports growing up and even wanted to play football. What is that all about?
MM: I almost said that. I really would love to be a quarterback on the football team. It would be so fun to play football here at Texas because of all the support and fans that they get at all of their games.
Your parents have been to every match so far this season and they have had some close calls making it on time to a couple matches. How important and exciting has it been to you to have them at the match?
MM: That is part of the reason I came here because I wanted them to be able to come see me play. I have grown up having them give me a lot of support and I wanted them to be able to come watch me play as much as they possibly could. It means a lot to have my family there with me because I am a big family person.
The team has had several road trips so far this season and either travels by plane or bus. Talk a little about your travel experiences with the team this season. What has been memorable from those trips?
MM: Our first trip on the plane has been the most memorable experience so far this season. When we got to the airport all the freshmen were standing around talking and Jen (Christian) was getting really nervous. I told her that it was no big deal and was trying to keep her calm. Then I told her that I would sit next to her and keep her calm, but when we got on the plane I was the one who got really claustrophobic and scared. Now I am used to the plane like the veterans are, but that first plane trip was definitely memorable.
Fact Attack: Michelle Moriarty
Favorite Place in Austin? Gregory (Gym) and my new favorite place is Texadelphia
Volleyball: In the sand / On the court: Both. It depends because sand is fun to play around with friends, but the competition on the court makes the court great.
If you're not on the court you're … Sleeping or hanging out in my room with Alyson (Jennings) my roommate.
Which reality show would you be on? The Bachelorette or The Real World would be fun.
You would rather be … Eating
Dinner for four. Who is there, dead or alive? Brett Favre, it would pretty cool if Jesus could be there, and also Vince Lombardi
What did you eat for dinner last night? A bacon cheeseburger, fries and a frosty from Wendys.
What is in your CD player right now? Pat Green, Wave on Wave
Neat / Messy: I am kind of messy, but I can be neat.
When you think of the University of Texas, you think? The winning tradition.