Nov. 17, 2005
Cassie Perret is having her best season on the court in her four years in a Santa Clara uniform. The 6-1 opposite hitter is one of most efficient hitters in the West Coast Conference, producing 3.39 kills per game at a .386 clip. Her all-around game enables her to be one of the team's top defenders, both up at the net and in the back row, averaging 2.14 digs and .86 blocks per game. Perret earned All-West Coast Conference First Team honors as a junior after being named an All-WCC honorable mention as a sophomore. This year, the Communication major has brought national recognition to the Mission Campus after being named the AVCA/Sports Imports National Player of the Week on September 12, the first such honor in program history. In addition, the senior was named WCC Player of the Week on two occasions in 2005. Currently, Perret ranks No. 4 and No. 6 in Santa Clara's all-time list in blocks and kills, posting 317 blocks and 1,259 kills. In addition, she has registered 870 digs during her time on the Mission Campus.
Before this weekend's final regular season matches against Saint Mary's and San Francisco, the Menlo Park, Calif. native sat down for a quick Q & A.
1. How did you spend your summer?
This summer I stayed in Santa Clara. I live in a house with two other softball players and one other girl and I worked as an intern in the media relations department. So I did that for a couple hours a week. I also took a summer class, just to get extra units out of the way. So I pretty much stayed here and worked out with the team and others that were here.
So it seems like it was an `all work' type of summer. Did you get any chance to go on vacation or anything with family or friends?
I did. Right after finals were over, my mom and I went to New York City for a week.
What did you guys do there?
We were just tourists. I like big cities. I liked New York City and I'd only been there once before. I just like Manhattan and the big city atmosphere. They have a lot of plays and sights you can see and the shopping, of course.
What was your favorite play you got to go see?
I haven't seen many plays but probably the one that I liked the most was 42nd Street. I saw that a couple of years ago when I went to Manhattan.
What would you characterize as your favorite tourist sight?
We visited the Trump Tower a couple of times, just to look at it but that wouldn't be my favorite tourist sight. I don't know. I like the whole city scene. I've lived in the suburbs my whole life, so I don't get to go to the city very often and I think New York is very different from San Francisco so it 's interesting to see a different kind of culture and weather and everything.
San Francisco and New York are both big cities. How would you say that they are different?
Geographically, the weather's different and I feel like the buildings in New York are a lot more gothic and it's just more `artsy' there.
After you graduate this year, are you planning on moving to a big city or are you going to stay in the suburbs?
I have been flirting with the idea of moving to San Francisco and getting a job but also I've been really interested in applying to grad school. One of the schools I've applied to is NYU.
What program is it?
The journalism program. But I'm not sure yet. I don't know if I want to do that yet. I might want to take a year off and get some work experience and then apply. One of the other schools I'm really interested in is USC and that's also in a big area.
2. Do you have any pre-game superstitions you like to perform or have developed over the years?
Not really. This year I always have Nicole Clarke braid my hair and put a bow in my hair. She always has to do that. This year I kind of decided I wanted to put my hair kind of behind and down because it would always get too messy and I'd always have to fix it when I'd play in previous years. I can't braid my hair myself and I just asked Nicole one day. She does a really good job of making it nice and tight, since my hair is so thin and falls out so easily. And ever since then she's always done it.
So you're not really the superstitious type then?
Not really. When I go back to serve, I always bounce the ball four times. I kind of shuffle it in my hand four times and then kind of spin it and then serve it. But that's a routine, not so much a superstition.
Being a volleyball player for many years, what superstitions have you heard from opponents and teammates?
Some people on my team like to put surf wax on their kneepads to make them slide easy on the floor. Also, when you pass a perfect pass in volleyball it's called a dime so last year Jac Heler always used to put a dime in her sock and if she didn't have one she'd always have to ask Kristen Luxton for one, and no one else. Other than that, I don't know of any crazy superstitions.
3. It's 3 am and you can't go to sleep, what would you put in your VCR or DVD player?
I really like Family Guy. It's my favorite show and I've seen all of the episodes a million times so it would probably just put me to sleep.
Do you enjoy comedy more than anything else?
I love comedy. Maybe I would listen to some relaxing music or something.
Do you have a favorite comedian or actress?
I like Will Farrell a lot.
So you followed him on Saturday Night Live?
I didn't follow him but I've seen a lot of his stuff.
What would you say was his most memorable skit?
I've always liked his Celebrity Jeopardy.
What kind of movies do you like?
I like comedies. I like horror movies too. I just like the suspense of it all. Otherwise I can get bored really easily.
What was the last horror movie that you saw?
The Ring was pretty freaky.
Did you see The Ring 2?
Yeah, I didn't think it was that interesting. I think the only really scary part of the movie is when the weird girl crawls up the well. Other than, that I didn't think it was that scary.
4. What is your favorite holiday of the year?
Why is that?
First of all, you're not in school. Your get presents. It's so advertised everywhere. I like the whole feel of it. It's evident everywhere. They have it everywhere and it's always pretty good. I'm a big Starbucks fan so they have the pumpkin latte, the peppermint mocha and then they decorate all of the places. It's just the whole feel of it and they incorporate it into everything else. It's just cheery. It's just kind of a cheerful time.
How do you celebrate?
Just the traditional way. We have a tree. We open our presents on Christmas Eve. We have stockings. We usually save a few big presents on Christmas Day. We hang stockings but Santa doesn't come anymore. We usually have a family dinner with immediate family. I like to cook but my parents make the fancy stuff. I can make the easy stuff.
5. What is the best restaurant you've been to in the Bay Area?
Straits. It's on Santana Row. It's like a Thai/African cuisine. Really, really good. I like al l types of Thai food.
What do you usually order?
It's in the language so I don't exactly know what it's called. I typically like to order a bunch of appetizers because they give you a lot. I like the satay chicken with the peanut sauce. I really like the bread that they have. It's kind of flakey but on the inside it's nice and warm. I don't think moist is the right word but it's kind of thick and flakey and they give you this really good curry sauce to dip it in.
What type of food do you typically like or do you like all kinds?
I like all types but I think my favorite is probably Mexican food.
Are there any good Mexican restaurants around here?
Yeah. Henry's is good. Mondo will give you big portions, which I always like. I haven't actually been to a lot of Mexican restaurants around here. I've mostly kind of stayed local. My favorite type of Mexican food is probably burritos for sure.
You mentioned earlier that you could cook. Anything of note?
Last time I made a really, really good pizza. I bought the Boboli bread. You know, it's like a pre-made bread, put on the tomato sauce they give you and then I chopped up like peppers, garlic, cilantro and red onion. I broiled a chicken and cut it up and put it on there and then I put a bunch of spices on it. It was really good. Big hit. I like to make chicken piccata. So I can make that. I have a George Foreman [Grill] so I grill a lot of stuff. I'm kind of a healthy eater and people tease me about it but I'm not a health nut. I'm not as healthy as some of my other teammates like Kim [McGiven].
My dream job right now is probably to do something in public relations. Maybe media relations for a professional team like the Giants, maybe the Lakers, although, I'm not a big follower of the NBA. So I would have to brush up my knowledge on everything.
Which teams do you usually follow?
I like to follow the Giants. I don't follow them nearly as much as real loyal fans do. But I like them. I won't lie, I don't watch many professional sports on TV but that doesn't mean I don't like it. I don't have time and if Family Guy is on another channel or if anything else is on that I really like, then I will watch that. I enjoy watching professional sports and I think if I want to do it as a career, I'm really willing to learn more about it.
What aspect of that career draws you?
I like to write a lot. When I interned here in media relations, I wasn't in season so I didn't have the real stressful everyday work as people here do but I liked writing press releases and writing bios for people. It was interesting for me. I had nothing else to do. I like to write and kind of write in a way that will get people's attention and be persuasive.
So you enjoyed the creativity and the writing aspects of the job?
It's sports and I generally love sports. So that makes it interesting.
If you had a chance, would you maybe consider playing volleyball professionally?
I've thought about it. For awhile I've always thought that I wouldn't want to do it because it would be so stressful. If you have to play well and if you don't, you get cut. And I always thought it would be too hard on my body. Now that the season's coming to a close, I realize how much I'll miss it. I've started talking about it with my parents a little more and I'm really thinking about it, yeah.
So if you get the opportunity, if a team called you up and said that they'd like you to join or tryout, you'd definitely be enthusiastic?
Yeah, I'd be enthusiastic. Don't teams usually call players like after it's over, like in the summer? I don't really expect that. But I've talked to my parents. They said it's probably most important to finish my degree first. I looked at my degree audit yesterday online and I only need ten units to graduate which is two upper-division classes. So it could work out.
Would it kind of depend where it was and how much and all of that?
I took French. I don't know any Spanish. People want to travel after they graduate and I think that would be a great way to do it and play volleyball as a living. That sounds awesome.
Are you excited about graduating?
I'm kind of bittersweet about it. Obviously college is fun and I have a lot of responsibility but not nearly as much as when I'll be done and graduated. At the same time, I'll be done with classes. I'm excited to go on to the next step, next chapter of my life. I'm really excited to have my own place or to share it with someone else, which I do now, but you know, off my own living. It's just kind of a new independence that hopefully I think I'll be ready for. I'll just miss the fun college times. And I'll miss the volleyball, of course, unless I do it professionally.
7. What is something about yourself that not many people know about?
Metal smithing was a class that I took my senior year at Woodside Priory. It's basically working with metal. It's kind of like woodshop only with metal. We build things out of metal and what I like most about it is making jewelry. Like I could make a ring and it would be a complete circle and I forget all of the terms but I could put gems on it and make it look really nice. I could also make necklaces and other things. I liked making rings. When Santa Clara sent me the sheet to fill out my personal information, it was right after I graduated, right after I had taken that class so I think it was kind of on my mind. I haven't done any metal smithing in the last four years. But I still go to away trips and hecklers will download my profile. One time at Loyola Marymount, the whole crowd was chanting "metal smith, metal smith" when I'd go back to serve. So it still comes back and bites me.
How do you deal with hecklers? How do you deal with that, especially in such a pressure situation?
When I go back to serve, I always look to see where the setter is and whose in the front row. By doing that, I zone out any other distractions. It actually helps me focus on serving the ball and zoning out the hecklers.
Was it something that you developed on your own or has [head coach] Jon [Wallace] of helped you out in that regard?
In the past, he's focused on making a routine, making yourself comfortable out there. So when you go to other places and there are hecklers, you can just focus on your routine and go through the motions and feel calm anywhere. It really does help and after four years I think I've developed it pretty well.
8. Who is your favorite Santa Clara athlete?
I can say that I really like to watch soccer. I've been to a lot of women's soccer matches and I'm always really impressed with how fast they are. They're so quick. Like all of us will be like "Oh my God, they're so fast. I could only run like a tenth of their speed." I don't know if I really have a favorite athlete to watch. But soccer players are so fast and so talented with their feet.
Growing up did you have a favorite volleyball player?
I only started playing volleyball when I was in ninth grade. I mean really volleyball. This is interesting: in seventh grade I was cut from my volleyball team when we made it to the playoffs. It was a big deal. I think the coach got fired because of it. At Woodside Priory, we have 40 kids in each class and especially in seventh grade when we're not like a big athletic centered school. And it's seventh grade volleyball. Most of the girls had never played before either and as soon as you get to the championship to cut all of the players who had never really played before and who aren't as good is really unethical. Like "I don't want to have to play you. I only want to play the good girls so I can win."
Was there any one who you looked up to or modeled your game after?
The only name that immediately came to my mind was a senior who was on the team when I was a freshman. Jenny Upjohn. She was really athletic and she was like the star basketball player as well but she was also really good at volleyball. She was really nice and she had a great personality. She was really funny and everyone loved her. She was aggressive on the court. She was so motivational. I never played my freshman year. I got in maybe once or twice because I wasn't any good. But she was always really nice to me and I was in awe of how good and athletic she was. She was really athletic and just fun to watch.