Q&A with Tess Udall
Senior Tess Udall (Boulder, Colo.) recently checked in with VirginiaSports.com to talk about Virginia’s wins over Boston College (Nov. 11) and Maryland (Nov. 12) last weekend and finishing up her collegiate career at home.
Question: What was it like coming home after a long road stretch and earning two big wins?
Udall: We love playing at home, we’re better at home, I don’t think many people are better away from home. It was really good for us, because we haven’t been doing too well lately and we had lost to both those teams earlier in the year so it was a little bit of redemption and revenge, especially against Maryland. We had a great home too so it was a big deal for us to get those wins.
Question: How did the team keep its composure when going beyond the 25-point mark, like it did three times this weekend?
Udall: We practice it a lot, so I think that’s part of it. We do a lot of drills where we’re in crunch situations and we have to win five points before the other team earns seven, things like that. We have to treat every point the same because if you act like the end of the game is more important that the beginning, you’re not going to be in a good position a lot of times, so we just try to make sure everyone is doing their job and playing organized and that’s our focus.
Question: In the fourth set against Maryland, the team was down 24-18 and came back to win, 30-28, as a senior, what are you telling teammates on the court?
Udall: Take it one point at a time, you can’t think ahead, you can’t look behind, don’t look at the score at that point. It’s all or nothing and (Coach) Lee (Maes) says all the time, ‘be good for that point.’ Just do your job for that 30-second stretch.
Question: What is like to have your final five matches of your collegiate career be at home at Memorial Gymnasium?
Udall: It’s pretty amazing actually. Last season, we ended on the road and this year, coming home and playing here, it just means more. Playing in front of our home crowd and people you know for three weeks in a row, it makes the transition easier. It’s not like we’re done (at home) and we have to go on the road and play more, I’ll get to close out the season with everyone that I love around me. It’s great.
Question: Coming from Colorado, what is the biggest difference between home and Charlottesville?
Udall: The atmosphere. The East Coast is very different from home and the West and it’s not a bad kind of different. The people are a lot different in the way they interact, so it’s been a great learning experience. I’m glad I got to get out (of the West) and see what’s out there.
Question: What was your biggest draw to UVa?
Udall: I’m from a college town (Boulder, Colo., home of the University of Colorado) so I like that small, college town feel. There’s a lot to do here and whatever hobby you have, you can find something. Also, my teammates, they can make any place fun. It was a great team and a great community.
Question: What are your plans after graduation?
Udall: I think I’m going to go home a little bit next summer and then maybe move back to DC and start working or get an internship and after that maybe go to grad school. I’m a foreign affairs major and a history and sociology minor so I’m thinking maybe a non-profit and then decide what kind of grad school I want to go to.
Question: What would you tell a prospective student-athlete as to why they should come to Virginia?
Udall: It’s the total package. If you want to play volleyball and be a part of a great school, you’ve come to the right place, you shouldn’t look anywhere else. It has everything you want. It’s not all about athletics and it’s not all about academics, it’s a perfect balance.