Volleyball

 

Palmer, Healthy and Excited for Upcoming Season

By, Stephen Hobbs '11

Sophomore Alexandra Palmer (AP) had her 2009 rookie season cut short due to a wrist injury that plagued her the entire year. After an off-season of recuperation and tough training, Palmer is healthy and excited for what her and her teammates will bring to the court in the fall. Santaclarabroncos.com sat down with the setter from Laguna Beach, Calif. to get an idea of what Bronco fans can look forward to this season.

SCU: I know the coaching staff has worked you guys very hard this off-season, but how do you feel that these workouts are preparing you for success next season?

AP: The off-season workouts helped us achieve our goals of getting in better shape and becoming a mentally stronger team.  We were forced to push ourselves out of our comfort zones and keep each other responsible for working hard as well.  The workouts will definitely help us be more successful next season because we now understand how to overcome obstacles with each other and our team chemistry has really come together.

SCU: The wrist injury that you suffered early in the season made it hard for you to feel healthy during the season. How frustrating was that for you?

AP: Getting injured early in the season was devastating because I was looking forward to playing my first season here at Santa Clara.  However, not being able to play forced me to look at the game in a different way.  I analyzed the game more on both sides of the net so that when I did come back I could help the team in every way possible.  Rather than getting frustrated, I tried to channel that energy into supporting the team during practices and matches.

SCU: You had an outstanding high school career at Laguna Beach High School, but what has been the biggest adjustment to collegiate volleyball?

AP: The biggest adjustment to playing collegiate volleyball is the speed of the game.  In high school not every team is good, but in college everyone is great.  The offense is run at a much faster pace and the ball comes at you a lot faster.  As a setter, you also have to be a lot quicker at making decisions.  Like in high school, having the experience of the upperclassmen on the team makes the adjustment a lot easier.  

SCU: What do you feel like is the best part of your game?

AP: I believe the best part of my game is my ability to run the offense.  I understand who the hot hitters are, what the defense is doing on the other side of the net and I enjoy making our hitters look good.  I also bring a lot of passion into my game.  Nothing is more exciting than having another teammate as fired up as you are, so I try to bring that energy into every play.  

SCU: What part of your game still needs improvement?

AP: Every part of my game needs improvement because everyone can always get better.  The aspect that needs the most work, however, is my serving.  I can't score hitting, so I need to become more effective from the back line to help my team win.

SCU: What has been your favorite part about being member of the team?

AP: My favorite part about being a member of the team is simply being with them all the time.  There is a great passion for life and volleyball in every girl and it makes practice, traveling, meetings and matches that much more fun.  They are my family away from home and it is a family I am extremely happy to be a part of.

SCU: What was the best part about playing two top ten teams to start last season?

AP: The best part about playing two top ten teams right away last season was that we got a first hand experience at how great volleyball is played.  Every team rose to the occasion and made the matches exciting and memorable.  I could not have asked for a better start to a season than playing two of the best teams in the country.

SCU: What can Bronco fans look forward from you next season?

AP:  Next season, Bronco fans can look forward to some really exciting volleyball.  Everyone has been working really hard throughout the off-season improving in all aspects of the game.  I am getting excited just thinking about how much fun it will be next season and having the Bronco fans supporting us will make it that much better.  

The Broncos will kick off their 2010 season on Aug. 27 in Fresno, Calif. and will play their first home game of the season on Friday, Sept. 10 vs. Portland State at 11 a.m. in the Leavey Center. Go Broncos!