Sophomore setter Alexandra Palmer (AP) and the rest of the Santa Clara University volleyball team is working hard in its spring season, focusing on competing and conditioning. Recently www.SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) caught up with Palmer about the busy spring schedule, her changing role on the team and the upcoming Walk 4 Pancreatic Cancer.
SCB: How much progress do you think the team made in the offseason? What were the focuses of the strength and conditioning program this winter?
AP: The team has made huge progress in the offseason. In winter we really focused on getting faster and stronger. We could not have done that without our strength coach Ron Forbes. Now in spring, volleyball has been our main focus and from where we started to now we are a whole new team playing at an even higher level.
SCB: What are you working to improve on as a team and individually?
AP: As a team we are really focusing on competing every single play and making every rep count. A primary focus for me right now is connecting with my hitters and establishing the offense that the coaches want us to run.
SCB: The team has a busy spring schedule this year. How do you think this will benefit you in 2011-12 season?
AP: Our schedule is really compacted this spring with long, tough practices and tournaments. Come double days in August we will be playing volleyball nonstop for the rest of fall with practice and matches. The coaches planned this spring schedule to get our minds and bodies ready for the grueling season ahead of us. You can already see our hard work paying off. We are focused on keeping this ball rolling into next season.
SCB: You are playing in an all-day tournament at USF April 30. How are you preparing for this event?
AP: Coach Jon has made competition the focus of practice this week and next week. He is making practices harder for us so that when the tournament comes around the matches will seem easier than practice and we can focus on just competing.
SCB: Do you see your role expanding on the team as you transition from under to upper classman?
AP: I definitely do because as an upperclassman it is my job to help the underclassmen really understand and embrace what Santa Clara volleyball is all about. My role as a setter will also expand as I focus on helping my team win the WCC next season.
SCB: What do you hope to accomplish by the end of your volleyball career at SCU?
AP: By the end of my volleyball career here I want to help my team get back to the Final Four. And I want our gym to be packed for every game because we are such an exciting team to watch.
SCB: The team is losing three seniors, Emily Burke, Morgan Doherty and Krista Kelley. How do you think the team will fill these holes in 2011?
AP: It's very hard to fill the holes of our three seniors because they all contributed so much to our team. With our new transfer, Alyssa Anderson, and the freshmen class coming in we will do our best to fill their spots. Overall it is up to everyone to step up because of the loss of our seniors.
SCB: The team is hosting its third annual Walk 4 Pancreatic Cancer on May 7 and has raised over $53,000 for Dig Pink the last three years. How do you feel about being a part of a team that contributes so much to the community?
AP: It is truly an honor to be a part of a team that is so focused on helping the community. Sometimes that aspect of life gets lost, especially as a student and an athlete, but the administration, our coaches and our team tries to make it a big part of our time here at Santa Clara.