Q&A with Rachel Clark
Sophomore outside hitter Rachel Clark (Los Angeles, Calif.) recently sat down with VirginiaSports.com to discuss the 2011 season and coming to UVa from the West Coast. The Cavaliers play at Maryland and Boston College this weekend.
Question: Why did you choose volleyball over another sport?
Clark: My brother played basketball and I would always go to his games. I was always taller than everyone else in my grade and my brother would always tell the volleyball coach that she had to get me to play. So she came up to me and told me about a club team that she coached and that I should try out and it’s the only sport I’ve ever played.
Question: What is the biggest difference between living on the East Coast against the West Coast?
Clark: It’s slower and I’m used to living in a big city, so seeing trees everywhere and it’s completely different. It’s so beautiful over here and I love the school and the atmosphere and people are so nice. I like how people take the time to realize and appreciate things more.
Question: Why should potential student-athletes from the West Coast consider UVa?
Clark: Other than the fact that the ACC is a strong athletic conference, UVa is such a prestigious school on its own. Academically, there are so many people willing to help you get better and succeed. One thing I noticed on my official (visit) was that people take time to help you when you need it.
Question: What advice did you give first-years at UVa having just been one last year?
Clark: To take a deep breath. For however many years you’ve been playing volleyball, it’s a whole different world here. You’re balancing school and sports and for most, you’re far away from home, so take it day-by-day. It takes time to get acclimated and we’re all here for support and I want to be that for the first-years and be someone who they know went through it last year.
Question: How have you grown as a volleyball player here at UVa?
Clark: I think I know volleyball more now. Something that (Coach) Lee (Maes) really prides himself on is that he teaches us a lot of volleyball knowledge. I think my volleyball IQ is so much higher. When you’re younger, you just go out and play and don’t think too much and here we go over so many techniques and mental game stuff behind the physicality of the game that people don’t see. I fell like I know the game better and am a smarter player.
Question: How are your preparing for this weekend’s games against Maryland and Boston College?
Clark: We’re fired up to change things around. We’ve had a couple of weekends where we were disappointed with the outcomes and we know that we’re talented and should have won those games, so it’s giving us that fire to push through and bring home some wins.
Question: What is your favorite class?
Clark: Media studies. I’m looking at that as my major and I want to go into brand-market managing for an entertainment company hopefully back in LA. I’m learning the in’s and out’s of the media industry and I love writing, especially about things I’m interested in and there are a lot of papers.
Question: What is your favorite part of UVa besides volleyball?
Clark: The pride you have being at this school. There’s so much support, whether it’s from other students here or the people that live in Charlottesville. You have this pride that when you walk around here, people appreciate you just being a student-athlete here and you get support from so many different places. If feels like home now.