Bridget O’Hara Continues Family Legacy

Bridget O’Hara Continues Family Legacy

By: Nicole Grazioli '12

The O'Hara last name is not an uncommon name when it comes to Santa Clara University.  Junior Bridget O'Hara (BO), who currently plays on the women's volleyball team, has two parents that attended SCU.  Along with attending the school, O'Hara has also followed in the SCU sports footsteps – her father, Terry ('85) played football for the Broncos and her brother, Tim, currently is a sophomore SCUTS rugby player with lots of potential for next season. 

O'Hara has become an important part of the volleyball team – she stepped up this past season in her leadership and skill.  Not only was she captain with Emily Burke, but she also had a phenomenal year.  In the season overall, O'Hara played in 105 sets and averaged 4.71 digs per a game.  As the starting libero, she collected 447 digs and acquired a season-high 33 digs with five assists versus No. 20 Dayton (Sept. 4). (SCB) spoke with O'Hara recently to discuss her feelings towards living close to home, the incoming volleyball freshmen and how she is preparing for her senior season.

SCB: Was having both your parents attend SCU a big factor in your decision to come here?

BO: Both of my parents attending SCU actually wasn't that big of a factor at the time of my decision.  They really wanted me to do whatever made me happy, whether it was to go to SCU or to go to the East Coast.  Looking back, however, I couldn't be happier that I chose the school that they both went to.

SCB: How was it to have your brother, Tim O'Hara, attend SCU this year as a freshman?

BO: It's awesome to have my brother with me at Santa Clara.  We get to hang out a lot and he will even treat me to some free meals at Benson once in awhile, which is quite the perk.

SCB: You have grown up in San Jose your entire life.  Do you like going to school close to home?  What are the advantages?

BO: Going to school close to home is amazing.  Although it may seem too close for some people, the proximity can be stretched – home can feel worlds away or right down the street.  Home cooked meals suddenly became the biggest luxury after two years of the cafeteria and having to cook on my own, so those are always nice.  Also, I love that my parents can go to all our home games.

SCB: What are your summer plans?

BO: This summer I'm visiting the East Coast and going to Tahoe with my family –I'm really excited!  When I'm not traveling, I will be working out with our strength coach and coaching the volleyball camps here at school.

SCB: Besides playing volleyball in high school, you also swam and played basketball – what led you to choose volleyball in college?

BO: I always knew volleyball was my favorite sport and that it was my goal to play in college - there was never really any doubt in my mind.  Swimming in high school was more of a form of rehab for me after my shoulder surgery.  After competing in meets, it was obvious to me that I was right in pursuing a career in volleyball.

SCB: What is your favorite aspect of volleyball?

BO: My favorite aspect of volleyball is blocking.  Even though I never get to really do it, blocking is exciting and it takes much under-appreciated skill.  

SCB: Who is your toughest competitor(s)?  What is your team doing to prepare for your season against these teams?

BO: All our opponents are tough competitors!  We all are training really hard to be ready for anything to happen against any of the teams.

SCB: What do you consider your strengths and weaknesses in volleyball? How do you plan to improve on your weaknesses for the upcoming season?  

BO: With Matt Lyles in the gym, we have been working a ton on passing and defense.  I'll continue to work on these through the summer and through this season.

SCB: What are your goals for your senior season?

BO: For my senior season, I want two simple things: to win and to have fun.  And these two things go hand in hand – if we have fun, we will win, and winning is always fun!

SCB: How many days a week do you guys train in the summer and off-season?  What's one drill that you guys do a lot?  What do you guys do to stay in shape?

BO: We train pretty much everyday but Sunday in the off-season, which includes winter, spring and summer.  With Coach Forbes, we alternate between lifting and conditioning.  Two drills we do the most are stadiums and horizontal Russian twists (a core exercise).

SCB: What has been your favorite memory with SCU volleyball on and off the court?

BO: My favorite memory with SCU volleyball was going to Chicago and Notre Dame last preseason – it was a great trip.  Also, I will never forget the team dinner we had in Philadelphia with Lexi Williamson's family.

SCB: How will your team adjust with your recently graduated seniors leaving?  How are the incoming freshmen on the team going to help your team?

BO: The graduated seniors leave a huge hole in our team.  All three contributed things that will be hard to match.  I think, however, that our hard work in the off-season and our dedication to improvement will make our team strong and prepared for the future.  We expect big things from the freshmen and I'm excited to see them excel!

SCB: How is your coach motivating you for your upcoming season?

BO: Our coaching staff has been exceptionally motivational this off-season.  They expect the best out of us and push us to exceed our limits.  At the same time, they also incorporate fun aspects into a competitive atmosphere.

SCB: Being a senior next year, what type of role will you take on the team?

BO: Being a senior, I will take on a different role of leadership.  I think that having been in the program for four years it has given me (and Tanya Schmidt and Dana Knudsen as well) experience that I can share with the team.  Leading by example will be my big role.