By, Carolyn Linck, '11
Santa Clara University's volleyball team has started the 2010 season strong despite injuries at key positions. This is largely due to the play and leadership of junior captain from San Jose, Bridget O'Hara (BO), who leads the Broncos with 166 digs as of September 13. Recently www.SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) asked O'Hara about training this off-season, her goals for the year and her favorite thing about volleyball at SCU.
SCB: You've played really well this season. How much of this do you attribute to the work you put in this summer? What was training like this off-season?
BO: This off-season was awesome for our team to really come together and get better. We hired a new strength coach, Ron Forbes, who pushed us to our mental and physical limits and then some. So not only did we train in fitness and volleyball, but we reached a new level of mental stability which has helped with our success thus far. This summer we continued to train with Coach Forbes and everyone who stayed around lifted, conditioned and played together.
SCB: Prior to the season Head Coach Jon Wallace brought in a sports psychologist to assist in team development. What was it like meeting with him and how do you think it helped the team?
BO: Jon's discovery of our sports psychologist Mike Voight was an awesome tool we were able to utilize during double days. We explored some components of team chemistry and decided on our goals and standards for the season, which we base our play in practices and in matches on. He helped us build a strong team with a set path for the future.
SCB: What are your goals for this season – both on a team and individual level?
BO: Our goals for this year are obviously to win matches and advance in the NCAA Tournament, but more importantly to get better every time out and to maintain a stable competitive mindset. By working hard with this mindset, we are able to win as many matches as possible.
SCB: What needs to happen this year in order for you guys to have a successful season?
BO: For us to be successful this season, we need always to look forward and get better every opportunity we can. We just have to compete and trust ourselves and each other. If we do that, there's no doubt that we will be successful.
SCB: Do you have a favorite memory from your first two seasons of Santa Clara volleyball?
BO: I have way too many favorite memories from my past two years here to be honest. If I had to pick one, it would be a team dinner hosted by Lexi Williamson's family in Philadelphia. If we had actually recorded the dinner, it could have been on reality TV.
SCB: Now that you are an upperclassman do you feel you have a larger leadership position on the team?
BO: Now that I'm an upperclassman, I definitely have more of a leadership role. I was pretty quiet my first two years, but now that I'm a captain along with Emily Burke, it's impossible to speak up. So I have to lead more by example (like upperclassmen did my first two years) and become more vocal.
SCB: What's your favorite part about being on the volleyball team at Santa Clara? What's your favorite part about being a student at Santa Clara?
BO: My favorite part about being on the team is the awesome legacy. The alumni are still extremely connected/active in the current team. As corny as it sounds, it's literally like a huge family with similar mindsets and experiences. It's something I'm very proud of. My favorite part of being a student is the people I get to meet. Going to class is always fun because with the small community, you always end up having a few friends that can make class a blast.
SCB: In high school you also swam and played basketball. Do you miss these sports and do you ever do them now just for fun?
BO: Totally! Intramurals have saved my life! Kayla Lommori and I are on a co-ed intramural basketball team that is super competitive, so it's a great way to have fun but still win!