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Middle blocker Jessica O’Shoney has battled for a starting position in her first season with the Cavaliers and currently leads the volleyball team with 29 blocks. A Hutto, Texas native, O’Shoney was a member of the Cavaliers’ first-ever nationally ranked recruiting class and will look to help lead the team to victory in Florida this weekend. Virginia will face Miami on Friday at 7 p.m., before heading to No. 18 Florida State for a noon match on Sunday.

Question: The team is coming off a big win over Virginia Tech and a couple of tough losses to non-conference opponents this past weekend. What did the team learn from the experience?
O’Shoney: We all agreed this weekend that after the Virginia Tech match there had been a lot of digression in many areas of our play instead of the progression that we’d been used to seeing. I think that all in all, we just came to a realization that we don’t want to be that “hot and cold” team who can show up and dominate one match and then get dominated the next. So we’re working very hard every day on being consistent in all areas of play.

Question: Speaking of that Virginia Tech match. What was it like to play your first conference game in front of a capacity crowd?
O’Shoney: The atmosphere in the gym that night was electric, and I think it really added to my energy during the game. It was a great feeling to be able to come onto the court in my first conference game and make a difference and see the team really come together.

Question: You’ve started the majority of the matches since you came to Virginia. How has the transition into the college game been for you?
O’Shoney: The transition has been a little rough for me. I’m used to coming by things very naturally and I’ve had to work at this quite a bit. The college game is a lot different than the type of volleyball I have been used to playing and I think the coaches have done so much to make the transition as smooth as possible for me.

Question: What has been the hardest part to get used to?
O’Shoney: The hardest part to get used to has been the demanding schedule, between homework and traveling and practices, there’s not much time for anything else. But I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

Question: When playing, do you find it more satisfaction in getting a kill or a block?
O’Shoney: I would say getting a block, because I struggle a lot with my blocking and have to work very hard at it. So when I do actually get a block, it’s very gratifying to see that some of my work has paid off.

Question: Now that the non-conference portion of the schedule is over, what are the team’s goals for the upcoming ACC opponents?
O’Shoney: Our long-term team goals are of course to win the ACC. But in the short term, consistency is definitely something we will be putting a lot of focus on.

Question: The team just beat Virginia Tech and up next are Miami and a nationally ranked Florida State squad on the road. How are you preparing for those matches?
O’Shoney: We prepare for every match the same, no matter if the team is first in the nation or last. So it’s just business as usual for us.

Question: Is there a conference opponent you’re most excited to play?
O’Shoney: I’m most excited to play Georgia Tech. One of my very good friends that I played with in club for the past three years is a defensive specialist for Georgia Tech. I can’t wait to see her and catch up a little bit.

Question: What made you decide to come to Virginia? Are you happy with your decision?
O’Shoney: I came to Virginia because of the people here. The coaches, players, trainers, everybody just make the experience so great. I’m very happy with my decision.

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