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Hillary Trebels is a first-year on Virginia’s volleyball team this season. Trebels is a middle blocker who comes to the Cavaliers from Arlington Heights, Ill., where she played varsity soccer for a year before switching to volleyball her sophomore year. She led her high school team in blocks during her junior and senior seasons and helped her club team to a fifth-place finish at the 2007 and 2008 AAU National Championships.

The 2008 Cavaliers will open their season in Harrisonburg, Va., this weekend at the JMU Days Inn Invitational. The opening match is slated for 5 p.m. on Friday against Murray State. Virginia will also complete at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, against New Hampshire and James Madison, respectively.

Question: How was your first preseason? Was it what you expected it to be?
Trebels: It was definitely what I expected it to be. Two-a-days were intense and the lifting was a whole other level compared to what we did in club ball. Overall, it was a lot of learning for myself and all of the other first years, just getting ourselves technically perfect.

Question: Do you think it prepared you for the beginning of the season?
Trebels: It definitely prepared me for what the coaches will be looking for from us. I had to change a lot of little things because they want us to be technically sound on everything.

Question: What are you most excited about this year?
Trebels: I’m most excited about conference play and for a chance to make it to the NCAA Tournament.

Question: What was the biggest adjustment you had to make to play at this level?
Trebels: The coaches are concerned with us doing everything absolutely perfect and because I have to compete for a spot this year, I have to learn how to pass, which isn’t typical for a middle blocker. They want each of us to be able to do everything.

Question: Do you have any specific goals for the season?
Trebels: Our team goal is to win the ACC title. To do that, we’re each going to have to come in everyday, and everyone is going to have to give 100 percent all the time, no matter if you’re a starter or not. The starters make the nonstarters better, and the nonstarters working hard in practice make the starters work harder. It’s a team effort.

Question: What have you been doing in your free time?
Trebels: The first-years and I hang out sometimes and other times we have team activities planned, like a photo scavenger hunt that we’re doing now.

Question: What do you miss the most from home?
Trebels: I definitely miss my family. I was really close to my club team too, but I’m starting to get closer to these girls, also.

Question: What is your favorite thing about Charlottesville?
Trebels: I love all of the things that you can do around here. It’s a quaint little town, with a cute downtown and the Grounds are historical and beautiful.

Question: How are classes going so far?
Trebels: I took summer classes and I did really well in those. We’re just starting fall semester classes now and they seem like they could be really good. I have a good balance between lecture and small classes.

Question: Have you decided on a major yet?
Trebels: I really want to do something with pre-med. But, that’s just a track, so I think I want to study biochemistry or something similar to that.

Question: Has anything embarrassing happened since you’ve been here?
Trebels: For our sociology class this summer, we had to do a “breaking the norm” project where I wore my clothes backwards for a day. It was just an experiment, but it was really awkward to walk around with your clothes on wrong because people gave you odd looks.

Question: If you weren’t playing volleyball, what would you be doing?
Trebels: I’d probably be playing soccer.

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