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Rachel Gray is one of three freshmen that combined to earn the Virginia volleyball team its first-ever national ranking (No. 15) for a recruiting class. Since joining the Cavaliers’ squad, the Shawnee, Kan., native has started every match as Virginia’s setter. Gray will look to continue leading the team this weekend when Virginia plays host to the Marriott Cavalier Invitational on Friday and Saturday. The Cavaliers will face conference-foe Virginia Tech on Friday at 7 p.m., before meeting Villanova and Albany on Saturday, at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively.

Question: How has your transition to Virginia been?
Gray: My transition has been smooth for the most part. I’d say that the most difficult thing for me has been making sure to find time to get all of my homework completed.

Question: You’ve started every match so far. What has that been like?
Gray: It’s really exciting getting to start and have the opportunity to play as a freshman. The only time I was a little nervous was our very first game but I got over the nerves after the first few points of the match.

Question: Do you feel as though you have a good grasp of what’s expected of you now?
Gray: It was difficult in the beginning because I had to learn a lot of new concepts. But now I definitely feel like I am getting the hang of things. Of course there is always something that I can work to improve on.

Question: This past weekend, you played in front of 4,115 fans – the largest crowd to ever watch a Virginia volleyball team play. What was that like?
Gray: It was a great experience for all of us I think. Being able to play in front of a huge crowd like that was incredible and is definitely something I will never forget.

Question: As a setter, you are the quarterback to the offense. What sort of decisions do you have to make in the game?
Gray: Being a setter means that I run the offense and tell the hitters what they are going to hit. Things I have to take into consideration is to look at who is blocking on the other side of the net and try to run the best play possible to help us get a point.

Question: When did you start setting?
Gray: I started setting when I was in third grade. I actually wasn’t a setter to begin with though, I was an outside hitter and then I switched over to being a setter.

Question: What is your favorite set to set?
Gray: My favorite set to set is a slide.

Question: Outside of setting, what is your favorite part of volleyball?
Gray: Outside of setting I’d have to say my favorite part is digging. Without a pass or dig there is no way for me to give a good set to the hitter to get a kill.

Question: The team opens ACC play at home this weekend against Virginia Tech. What are your expectations for that match?
Gray: My first expectation, of course, is to win. Our goal as a team is to be undefeated at home and to win the ACC Championship, so we need to be ready to take care of business and defeat Virginia Tech.

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