By Carolyn Linck, '11
One of Santa Clara University's newest volleyball players, freshman Ali Rambis (AR), is having a smooth transition from high school to college on and off the court. Taking advice from her coaches, captains and her father, former SCU basketball standout and NBA player, Kurt Rambis, the youngest Rambis is adjusting to life at Santa Clara quite well. Recently www.SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) had a chance to ask Rambis about her transition to college volleyball, her dad's legacy, and her goals for her freshman year.
SCB: You're the youngest daughter of Kurt Rambis, Santa Clara's all-time leading scorer in men's basketball. How proud are you of your father's legacy here? Did it play a role in your decision to come to SCU?
AR: I'm extremely proud of my Dad's legacy at SCU and understand how committed and talented an athlete he was to have his records still standing. However, the first time I set foot on the SCU campus I felt it would be the right place for me not because of my dads basketball legacy, but because Santa Clara offers the right combination of athletics and academics that I was looking for. Ever since I was little I knew SCU was the school for me.
SCB: How long have you been playing volleyball? Have you ever played any other sports?
AR: I've been playing organized volleyball since I was 11. I became interested in volleyball because both of my older brothers played, and it was fun to go outside and play with them. My brothers never took it easy – it wasn't unusual for them to crush balls at me. Because they were super competitive, it pushed me to get better and try to keep up with them. I also played soccer and basketball growing up.
SCB: What's the transition from high school to college volleyball been like for you so far? What has been the hardest adjustment?
AR: Training camp and having two-a-days was tough. It was also hard at first learning a new system and getting used to playing with my teammates. Jon Wallace and the coaching staff, while demanding, showed a good deal of patience and were great teachers. I'm so lucky because it's a great group of girls and we push each other hard, but that's how I like it!
SCB: Do you look up to any of the older girls on the team or is there anyone you go to for advice and guidance?
AR: I really look to my captains Bridget O'Hara and Emily Burke. They are such great mentors and have helped me a great deal making this transition into college volleyball. Bridget and Emily have made me very comfortable every time I step on the court. The first two weeks I also talked to my parents a lot. My dad explained how training camp goes and how I would be feeling physically and mentally those first few weeks.
SCB: What are you looking forward to most in your freshman year at Santa Clara?
AR: I'm just thrilled to be a part of such an elite volleyball program. Getting to know my teammates and coaches is very exciting. I want to work hard and make my own mark at SCU like my dad did. When classes start I'm also looking forward to meeting other students, professors and my dorm mates. This whole experience has been invigorating and I just want to make my four years at Santa Clara very special.
SCB: What do you hope to accomplish in your volleyball career at SCU?
AR: The level of players on this team is amazing and I think we can have a very successful season. Whatever I can do to make that happen, I'll do. On a personal level, I want to fill whatever role the coaches ask of me. That's something my dad has always preached to me, and I think that's an important part of his legacy – hard work and discipline.