Aug. 30, 2005
Freshman Jill Collymore's collegiate debut was highly anticipated and Husky fans were wowed over the weekend with her serving ability and hard-hitting kills. GoHuskies.com was able to catch up with Collymore and talk about the season ahead and what it's like to be a freshman on a team vying for its first national championship.
GoHuskies.com: Being a local kid (The Bush High School), did you grow up coming to Washington volleyball matches and attending camps?
Jill Collymore: "I was born in L.A. and then I moved to Colorado before moving to Washington. I actually didn't know much of anything about volleyball until my sister (now a senior at Florida) started playing so I followed her club team around pretty intensely and went to all of the national qualifiers. Then, when I moved to Washington, the school started recruiting me and that's really when I started coming to all of the matches."
GH: So at what age did you start playing volleyball?
JC: "My freshman year in high school."
GH: That's a pretty late start, isn't it?
JC: "I think having watched my sister, I had an idea of what I was getting myself into."
GH: Are you and your sister pretty close?
JC: "We are very close. I think we are similar and different. We have a lot of similar views in regards to the world and politics but our personalities are pretty different. We have the same sense of humor."
GH: How much did staying close to Bellevue influence your decision to come to Washington?
JC: "I don't think being close to home was a priority but it was a nice addition that I got by coming to Washington. I love Seattle. I kind of think of this city as my Utopia. Everything is so much nicer here than where I used to live. Being close to home is nice but it wasn't a priority."
GH: Did you have a lot of family and friends come out for your first collegiate match last weekend?
JC: "I did have some friends, which was really nice. It made me really happy to see them and as far as family, just my mom and dad came out because I don't have a lot of extended family."
GH: You played with a few of the current Husky volleyball players on the Kent Juniors club team and there are five of you in all. Did that familiarity influence your decision to come to UW?
JC: "I played with Christal (Morrison) for one year and I played with Lindsey (Thiry) but that didn't really influence my decision to become a Husky. I just think it's really funny how many Kent Junior people we have on the team."
GH:How different is it playing with those people here at Washington vs. on KJC?
JC: "There is a huge difference between college and club. I think we are here because of the qualities that we have like determination and seriously going after the ball and that's why we all got picked to come to Washington. Those qualities are still there but I think the level and the focus has boosted."
GH: What are some of the goals you have for yourself and the team this season?
JC: "Well I definitely want to win the national championship this year but the freshman have been talking and we say don't count us out for the next year either. We want to get some wins in the following years too so that's definitely a goal and I guess the goals for me, to get away from the technical stuff, just to individually do the most that I can and be the best I can be because that will help the team if I do my individual job. However they need me, just to do my best and help the team go get those wins."
GH: What part of your game are you working on right now? Are you focusing on any particular part?
JC: "I'm really trying to improve on everything. Serving consistently, my toss, blocking a lot, hitting, being balanced, defense, really everything."
GH: What was it like playing in your first college match?
JC: "It was really exciting. I was pretty nervous before hand but when I went in, the veterans were really good about calming me down. I was really surprised at how fast it went. That was what I was most shocked about. It was all a blur. I was focused but I looked up and the match was over. It was awesome."
GH: Was it what you expected?
JC: "I really didn't have any expectations. I just went on and things just kind of happened. To me, I really live to get on the court and play at this level. It was so exciting and it was the most fun I've ever had. The volleyball fun level went way up."
GH: When Husky fans saw your serve for the first time vs. GWU last Friday, the whole place roared. What was that like?
JC: "I've taught myself to tune things out. It kind of started with piano. I was a classical pianist and if you take in what the audience is doing you break your focus so I actually only selectively hear my teammates and coaches voices most of the time. Even if you are right behind me, I may not hear you so that didn't affect me. I didn't hear it. I just heard about it from other people."
GH: Are you living in the dorms with a Husky teammate?
JC: "Yes. I'm living with Danielle (Chun). We are the perfect fit for roommates because we are both laid back and fit really well together and the freshmen are really forming some tight friendships. After preseason I will get a different roommate and I'll live with a gymnast."
GH: What are some of the things the team has been doing away from volleyball to bond?
JC: "We go out to eat a lot, which is fun. We had a birthday party for Jessica Swarbrick, which was really funny. The theme was "8 year old girl" so Christal, Courtney and Sanja and some of the other vets actually dressed up. It was quite hilarious. (Carolyn) Farny was in this bird outfit flapping around and then we sang karaoke and had lot of laughs. Yesterday we went over to Sanja's house and we watched three matches. We watched Nebraska, Hawaii and Penn State. We have been spending a lot of time together, which is good."
GH: What is your field of study going to be?
JC: "I'm going to double major in psychology and digital arts. I kind of have two career paths. If I'm more stable financially, I can pursue digital arts with more confidence. In that career, lets say working at Pixar, you may be working on a movie which can take several years to create. But once you are done, that's it, and you are out of a job. With psychology, I'm really fascinated with criminal and child psychology. How a child becomes what it does and how the human mind can become do tainted from its innocent state. I'd want to work with children to keep their minds from getting there so I think psychology would be a more stable job to go for but I love art so I am kind of caught."