Nov. 18, 2004
In a special edition of the Q-&-A feature this week, junior volleyball co-captain Verena Rost talks about her team's upcoming semifinal Big East Tournament game against Notre Dame at 1 pm this Saturday. This is the frist season in which the Eagles have qualified for the Big East Tournament.
Q: You helped the Eagles knock off Notre Dame 3-0 on Nov. 7 and led the team with 36 assists and 12 digs in the victory. How was the team able to pull off such an upset?
A: The win against Notre Dame came about because it was a total team effort. Notre Dame didn't even have a chance with our confidence. We were like `Hey, we have nothing to lose. We're in here to have fun, to play, and to beat you.' It was more of a mental game when we went into their own gym. It was about which team can survive the longest through a rally and which team can be the most creative to find the best point to put the other team in a deficit.
Q: How do you repeat that victory over the Fighting Irish this week?
A: I still think that we can use a similar game plan with them. It's not about where you are strategically going after. It's about which team has more heart and which team really wants to be there. If we have the most energy and confidence, we are the team that's going to win. You can see that on the other side of the net.
Q: What does it mean to be on the first Boston College volleyball team to qualify for a Big East Tournament berth?
A: It means that all of our hard work has paid off. When our new head coach came in two years ago, there was some method to her madness. There is a reason that we do all the things we do. There's a reason why we are expected to do well in academics, to be nutritionally sound, to work out in the weight room, to condition on our own, to have mental training, and to watch video. It's all those little things that she implemented in our program. It's exciting too because I'm a junior, and I have that one extra year to go even higher.
Q: How do you keep your focus on the task at hand after celebrating last weekend's 3-1 win over St. John's?
A: I think the emotional part of it is that we've never been here before. It's a new experience for us and our whole game plan is that we do not have anything to lose. We're going to go with all the heart that we have because it is something new and exciting for us.
Q: This year's squad is filled with seven sophomores and loses just two seniors to graduation this year. What future do you see with the team's youth?
A: The team's youth is one of our strong points. We have that ability that we are not conscious and afraid of other teams because some of us are coming out there for the first time competing against these teams. Our youth is what encourages us to keep trying so hard.
Q: As captain of this young team, what do you say to your team before a big match like this?
A: My responsibility at the end of the season and when you advance to high levels of competition is to keep the energy on the team. You do not want to get drained at the end of the season. You want to have that energy and life that you had at the beginning of the season. You want to keep everybody moving toward the same goal and to keep everybody excited for the next competition.
Q: What has Head Coach Andrea Leonard emphasized in practice this week as you prepare for the Big East Tournament?
A: I think this last week is revitalizing us. You can't practice in the last week thinking that it's going to change the player that you already are. It's just practicing and finding that part of you that wants to keep going. Some weeks we focus on certain skills but this past week, specifically, is to just keep us going and to make us all want to be in the gym. We want to enjoy our seniors because these are our last games with them. It's about having great team chemistry.
Q: What is the best part of playing for Coach Leonard?
A: I think it's her ability to care on and off the court. She really wants us to succeed as women and to succeed in whatever life paths we choose. To do that, right now our job is to play volleyball. It's our priority to have fun in the gym and to be successful. Being a successful athlete will make you successful in whatever career you choose.
Q: The volleyball team started the season 7-7 before winning its ten consecutive games. How did your team get on track and position itself for its first postseason in the program's history?
A: I think our winning streak and our ups and downs this season were due to the team effort. When you can get all 14 of us in the gym together and you can get all of us working for the same goal and looking at the same game plan, you get a team on track. That is how you get everybody to work together.
Q: What approach do you have to take with an elimination game as opposed to a regular-season conference match?
A: It's that whole idea of having nothing to lose. Everybody has to go for everything. It's our seniors' final games so you have to push for everything you've got because it's crunch time.
Q: What do you feel is your team's biggest strength and to what advantage can you use that against Notre Dame?
A: I think our team's biggest strength is our desire and our hunger. Even if we don't jump the highest, our team is so confident and aggressive that when we make that our game plan you can't really beat us. People always ask how we do it, we don't know how we do it. We just do it.
Next week, the Athletics Department will feature women's basketball senior co-captain Clare Droesch. In her three seasons at BC, Droesch has played in all 125 games.