Written by Kendra Cavaney '15
Having an outstanding freshman season, Mary Shepherd (MS) is ready for the next one. Playing in 86 sets with 29 assists and 18 service aces, Shepherd is only looking to improve. Her determination and passion for the game has kept her skill set strong and we only hope her the best for her upcoming seasons as a Bronco.
SCB: As a freshman, how was your first season here at Santa Clara?
MS: My first season at Santa Clara was awesome! Playing volleyball at the collegiate level for a top-notch school and program like Santa Clara's has always been a dream of mine, so this past season was a dream come true!
SCB: What do you hope to work on for next season?
MS: As a defensive position player, my focus during the offseason is to improve my passing and defense, and to use my overall court sense to play a larger leadership role on our team. I think our team made great strides with our defensive-game this past season but I know we can still get even better. Our team's biggest goal for next season is to win the West Coast Conference. And to do that, we know both our defense and offense need to work well together.
SCB: What made you get into playing this sport?
MS: Ever since I was little, I have always loved sports, especially volleyball. Every day after school, I would pass and set the ball off the side of my house. I fell in love with volleyball in sixth grade after my first club season. I passed up club soccer, basketball, and softball opportunities to play volleyball. In addition to my love of competition and playing such a fun game, I really love the team aspect of volleyball, including the friendships and sense of shared achievement.
SCB: What was your favorite memory of the fall season?
MS: My favorite memory of last season was beating the number one seed in our Conference at the time, BYU. It was an exciting time for our team because we overcame a challenge that we faced all throughout the season: finishing out close matches. It was also very exciting for me personally, as I started and played that whole match at the libero position. The scores of every game were within two or three points. I will never forget when my head coach Jon said after the game, "This is a win to celebrate." Every single girl on the court battled for every point like it was game point. I will also never forget how excited and supportive coaches Matt and Aaron were. This was a team effort for sure.
SCB: Do you think it is important to have great team chemistry off the court? Do you and your teammates get a long well?
MS: Definitely! Team chemistry both on and off the court is really important for our team's success. My team bonds the most when we all hang out on the weekends. Building a strong team chemistry off the court transfers over to the court directly, helping us better understand each other's personalities, ways we communicate, and how we respond to various situations. I love this team, and I know that with the team chemistry we have and continue to improve on, we are going to do great things this season, and I cannot wait to show the WCC we've got!
SCB: If you weren't playing volleyball, what sport would you be playing?
MS: I can't imagine myself playing a sport other than volleyball, but if I did it would probably be something involving a ball and teammates! The friendships that I have made through volleyball both before Santa Clara and this past year are something I would not trade for anything in the world!