Volleyball

 
October 27, 2005

Bronco Bits: Caroline Walters

Oct. 27, 2005

Sophomore Caroline Walters has been the epitome of consistency.  Throughout her entire Santa Clara career, she participated in 167 out of 171 games and has started all 46 matches played.  The 5-9 libero has made the most impact in the back row, where her pinpoint passing and incredible defensive abilities have made her one of the top young liberos on the West Coast.  Currently, the Los Gatos, Calif. native leads the team in digs with 273 on the year and is averaging 4.33 digs per game.  She has been an important reason why Santa Clara is ranked No. 12 in the country and sporting an 18-1 record, which includes a stellar 7-0 WCC mark.  With their unblemished conference record on the line this weekend, the Broncos will turn to Walters for a calming presence on the court when things get tight.

Prior to Friday's 5 p.m. home match with league rival Pepperdine, Walters sat down to discuss her favorite Santa Clara athlete, her most embarrassing moment, and much more.

1. How did you spend your summer?

I coached my little sister's volleyball team. She's 13 and she plays for the club that I played for so we went to Utah and I coached her to the Junior Olympics. And then I just stayed around here and trained with the team for awhile. I went to San Diego with my dad and my best friend Amy. We watched baseball games and hung out by the beach for about a week. And then I came back here right before preseason.

So you're a big baseball fan?

Yeah my dad was a sports agent so I grew up around sports. So I went to a lot of baseball games and all different sporting events and stuff.

Growing up in the Bay Area, are you a Giants fan?

Oh, definitely a Giants fan. They didn't do well this season but...yeah always.

Aside from that little side trip to San Diego, did you take any other vacations or go anywhere on weekends?

I have a house in Tahoe so I went up there I think for two weekends. I did some wakeboarding and stuff with my friends. I think that was it for vacations.

Was it a relaxing summer?

Yeah. Very relaxing. I wanted to work hard this summer to get in better shape and get stronger. I was going to do that with Kim [MgGiven] but when her house burned down she had to go back to San Diego because she didn't really have anywhere to stay. I just tried to play with old teammates from Vision who came back from college and work hard around here.

What part of your game did you feel you needed to improve upon the most?

I think the biggest one was my passing. Last year I wasn't a very confident passer but this year I feel like I've grown confident and I'm passing a lot better than I did last year.

What aspects of passing do you feel more confident about?

I think it's strictly my confidence and my mental game. Last year I felt like every time I would shank a ball right back at me you know. This year, Jon's really helped me take every point as it comes and completely forget about the point that just happened. So I think the biggest thing that's helped me is my mental game.

Did you work at any of the summer camps?

Yeah I worked at all of them. It was fun.

You also mentioned that you coached your sister. Do you enjoy coaching?

I do. I enjoyed it a lot. Coaching club takes a lot of time though. I mean you practice two or three times a week, two hours a night and in the meanwhile, I had night classes. And with tournaments, you have two times a month, and they are always on weekends, so they are shot. You have to wake up at six in the morning to go to Clovis, California or other random parts of California. So I don't think I'm going to do it again this year.

So the coaching you like, the traveling you do not?

Yeah. The girls are awesome. They're really cute. It's so rewarding to see how much better they got during the season but if I could do it and not have to travel and be away from the college life, I think I'd do it again.

So you took summer school?

No. I coached them at the end of winter quarter and the beginning of spring so from about January to the end of June. It was a long season.

2. Where is your favorite place to shop?

There is this boutique in Los Gatos, where I'm from. It's called Bella Rosa and they have all of the designer jeans and Juicy hoodies and stuff. I love it there but my mom gets mad because I spend way too much money. It's my favorite store by far.

What would you say is your typical wardrobe?

Jeans. Either Seven jeans or Citizens for Humanity. I'm a t-shirt jeans girl, t-shirt with a hoodie over it. And Rainbow sandals.

3. What would you say your dream job would be?

Seeing my dad deal with his clients in the past [as a sports agent]... He doesn't do it anymore but he did when I was younger and I thought that was a really fun job. When one of his clients went pretty far into the playoffs, he got to travel with them and go to the different games. I think he mostly did baseball, but to have different jobs where you could just go watch beach volleyball for a weekend to see how your client was doing there and then go see football, that would be fun. I definitely want to do something definitely related to athletics.

What other aspects of being in the industry of sports draws you to it?

I just think it's amazing how people like to watch sports so much and we're paying people millions of dollars to do what they love. I think it's just watching the athlete's pure passion for the game when they play, even though they're making hundreds of millions of dollars. It's like us playing in college or when we were twelve years old. They love what they do and I think that's amazing. That's why I like athletics so much, I think.

What are you currently majoring in now?

I'm in the business school. I don't know what I'm going to do yet. I like marketing. My dad owns his own accounting firm so we talked about me studying accounting and taking that over, but I haven't taken any accounting classes yet. Danger [Kim McGiven] says they are hard and if the classes are hard for her, I probably wouldn't do too well!

Do you like numbers?

Oh yeah, definitely more than writing or anything.

Are you a math whiz?

Not a math whiz. I like numbers more than writing, I'll put it that way!

4. Who is your favorite Santa Clara athlete?

I like watching Anna Cmaylo play because of her abilities. If you're just watching her from afar, you see her pound a slide and you think she must be such a tough person. But then she turns around and has the biggest smile on her face. She never gets mad at anyone. She's always smiling. I think her attitude's the best part. I love watching her play because of her attitude. And I like watching the soccer girls play, especially Jordan [Angeli]. Whenever they score, they have great celebrations. She has worked unbelievably hard this summer to get to where she is now, so I really respect her because she knew what she wanted and was determined to work hard to get to where she is now.

What about an overall athlete, in any sport? Were there any athletes you looked up to when you were young?

Caroline Walters and her teammates get pumped up to Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas is You.


Probably Misty May because even now she's shorter than most of the players from the professional beach tour but she works so hard and proves that she deserves to be out there. She's winning almost every tournament she plays in. And with [partner] Kerri [Walsh], she's just amazing. Kerri blocks and does all the great things and [May] just plays defense. I looked up to her in college.

5. What are three essential items you would take with you on a backpacking trip to Europe?

Everyone's going to laugh when they read this because they would never pick me to go backpacking but I used to have, you know those Sidekick things. They're this thing by T-Mobile that you can talk online, be online, all that. I had one of those this summer. I was on it all the time. My friends hated me for it because I was on it all the time. But then I lost it and now they're all happy. I'd bring one to just to keep in contact with everybody back home. Second I would bring my video camera. We've had a lot of fun nights with that so far. And it's not really feasible but I just got a chair ...a massage chair from the Sharper Image. My dad just bought it for me when we beat Saint Mary's so I can't really bring that. But I'd want it with me because that thing is amazing. I've been in it for that past two days straight. I'd have to use a bus to carry it with me!

6. What CD are you most embarrassed to admit that you own?

Celine Dion. Her songs are so easy to sing to. I'll be in the car and I'll be singing to her songs, but everyone who sings in the car is embarrassed too. We'll just crank it up and belt it at the top of our lungs. Yeah, I'd say I'm embarrassed by that.

What type of music do you normally listen to?

Most everything. I like country, I like rap, Black-Eyed Peas, pop music... N'Sync. All those things.

If you could make a warm-up CD for your team, what would you put on it?

The first thing would be our favorite song, All I Want for Christmas is You, by Mariah Carey.

Why is that your team's favorite song?

It started with me and Rachel [Greenberg] because we went to Tahoe last Christmas. For the last hour that we were up in the mountains, we decided that we were going to listen to All I Want for Christmas is You and whoever turned it off first had to buy something for everyone in the car. It's another Celine Dion like song that you can sing to and we brought it back and now our team is obsessed with it.

What else would you put on the CD?

There's another song, I am not sure what it is called. It's the train song, you know, the "Choo Choo" song. Well before each game, we'd get together and dance around in a circle to it.

Would you say that it has become a superstition?

Yeah, it has become one. We always make sure to do it before we take the court.

Do you have any personal superstitions?

Yeah. Jac Heler, who played with us last year, she was the most superstitious person I've met in my entire life. We have surf wax and so Lexie [Bothman], Rachel and I put it underneath our knee pads. It really does help you slide on the floor, but that's another superstition, to put that on before games, home and away. I don't know if you have heard of this, but in volleyball, if you pass a perfect ball, you say, "Oh, you passed a dime." So Jac would always put a dime in her sock, so I do that too now. And I always get the dimes from Anna Cmaylo.

What happens if she runs out of dimes?

We'll be in trouble!

Does Jon make sure Anna has plenty of dimes?

I hope so. Jon doesn't really like superstition. Anna makes sure she has plenty of dimes because if I don't pass well, Anna doesn't get set!

7. What is something about yourself that not many people know about?

This is actually funny because a lot of my teammates don't know this. I was going home for dinner one night and I invited Danger. She wanted to know who else was coming and I told her my stepdad, my stepbrothers, my brother and my sister. And she said, "Your what?" And I said, "My stepdad and stepbrothers." I've been playing with them for a year and a half and most of them didn't know I had a stepdad and stepbrothers and that my mom was remarried.

It just never came up in conversation?

Yeah. I mean my stepdad is at all of my games and my stepbrothers have been to a lot. They must have thought they were my brother's friends.

8. What is your most embarrassing moment to date?

I get embarrassed really easily, but I can't think of anything right now!

Why do you get embarrassed easily?

Well it seems like I'm always doing things that are embarrassing! So Lexie and I, the night before we left to go play Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine a few weeks ago, we had bought new skateboards earlier that day. We thought we were really cool, but we couldn't go out that night because we had to get up at six in the morning. So we decided to go skateboarding around and look at all the people who are partying. So we started skating and then Lexie totally falls off her skateboard, going so fast. She gets a rip in her jeans and I just laugh. So we keep skating and I kid you not, a block after that, I do the exact same thing. This time, it was in front of a house that was actually having a party, with tons of people outside. Lexie is just standing there, laughing at me because I just made fun of her.

Do you believe in karma?

Yes, now I do! We've actually been told that we can't skateboard for the rest of the season so that we don't get hurt. I banged me knee pretty hard.