By Rico Chow, '12, Student Assistant
There are a lot of terrific changes going on with Santa Clara volleyball these days, including adding two new assistant coaches with fantastic backgrounds and a new sports performance coach as well. Rising senior Kayla Lommori, a three-year starter, is excited about the changes and looking forward to spring training. Check out her answers below.
SCU: After playing three seasons with the Broncos, how would you describe your experiences on the volleyball team? What would you like to change in preparation to play your last year at SCU?
KL: My last three years as a Bronco have been filled with adversity, and have allowed me to grow as a person on and off the court. Going forward, our team has somewhat of a different outlook and are ready to have some fun with the game that we all have loved for most of our lives. We have been competing extremely hard with each other in the off season, and the new people aboard on staff have been tremendous influences in providing us with a positive and energetic atmosphere.
SCU: Now that season is over, what are you working on in and outside of volleyball?
KL: We have been working hard in the off season to connect with our setters and learn hitting a new tempo set. We have been working out with our new sports performance coach, Ryan Leake, on mastering our bodies and becoming more athletic and agile athletes. Outside of volleyball, I have been working hard in the classroom and am doing some volunteer work on the weekends.
SCU: Who is your role model? Who did you want to be when you were growing up?
KL: Growing up, I would always love to watch Keri Walsh and Misty May Treanor in the Olympics and always thought that it would be so awesome to have the opportunity to play in that type of environment.
SCU: In the past two weeks Santa Clara has added to two new assistant coaches, Brad Keller and Matt Lyles. What excites you about the new coaches head coach Jon Wallace has brought in?
KL: Having Matty on board with us is the absolute best thing for our team. Matty is one of the best coaches that I have had the privilege to learn from. His knowledge about the game is tremendous and he instills confidence in each and everyone on our team. His consistent energy will create an awesome practice environment, and allow us to grow as a team.
Brad is also a fantastic addition to our team. In the little time that I have had with him so far in the gym, he has been awesome and his energy is undeniably great. He has been very helpful to me in learning new skills and bringing new ideas to our team. He also has a great personality, and it has been really fun to train with him.
SCU: Brad Keller was most recently at UConn (for the past year) working with the women's volleyball team. In the past, he also helped guide men's volleyball team at UC Irvine to a No. 3 national ranking and the Southern California Trojans to the NCAA Championship Final. How do you think his experiences in working with top collegiate teams can help bring a change to the Broncos?
KL: Brad is extremely knowledgeable about the game of volleyball, and I am already seeing a huge difference in our team from the last couple of practices with him. We are learning to hit new tempo sets and the coaches seem to be communicating a lot about what they want from us going forward. Brad will definitely have a huge impact on our team, and I am so happy that he is here on the Bronco staff.
SCU: Assistant coach Matt Lyles has a wide variety of experiences in both as a player, who was the former two-time All-American player and member of the U.S National Team for three seasons. He also played internationally. He worked as a Bronco assistant coach from 2003-07 when the Broncos went to the Final Four in 2005. What would you like to learn from him?
KL: I feel like I have learned so much from Matty varying from how to hit different shots, passing techniques, and in some ways how to be a better person. There is an unlimited amount of new things that I would love to learn about the game, and I know Matty will be right by my side helping me improve every day.
SCU: What do you like most about volleyball? What drives you to continue playing?
KL: I love to compete and I love the thrill that I get from playing the game. I love accomplishing tasks as a team, and feeling like I am a part of something bigger than myself. I love the way that I feel after winning a tough match, and knowing that we worked together as a team to out perform the other team.
SCU: Any comments for the fans?
KL: I would like to thank the fans that attend our matches, and would ask everyone to try to influence others to come out and support the Broncos!!!