At The Net With Brie Hagerty
Aug. 24, 2005
With the 2005 volleyball season right around the corner, Husky volleyball players are preparing for their first match against Gardner-Webb on August 26. After reaching the Final Four last season, the Huskies were left with a sour taste in their mouth. With a national championship on their minds, GoHuskies.com was able to catch up with senior outside hitter Brie Hagerty, who garnered All-Pac-10 honors last season, to find out what the Huskies have been up to this off-season and how they have prepared themselves for the upcoming year.
GoHuskies.com: You guys had a very successful season last year, how do you think it went?
Brie Hagerty: "It was unbelievable to accomplish all of the things that we did last year, but we were still missing that one thing; a national championship. We have a lot of seniors coming back for their final year and we have a lot of awesome freshman coming in, so it should be an exciting year."
GH: What do you think that you took away from that Final Four experience?
BH: "Just the experience in itself. We were shown first hand what it is like to be at the Final Four. The crowd is so much different because they really aren't cheering for any particular team, they are just big-time volleyball fans cheering for their favorite sport. It is hard to adjust to that when you are used to the gym being electric one way or another. That got us a little bit during the Final Four and I think now that we have experienced it, we are prepared for it if we can get there again."
GH: Do you feel if the team were to make it to the Final Four again this year there wouldn't be this sense of nervousness that was felt during last season?
BH: "Yes. Look at how many people we have coming back this year, it's almost our entire team from last year. I think we are going to be ready, so we would just go in nice and comfortable and just worry about volleyball."
GH: Did the team dwell on the tough loss to Stanford last season?
BH: "It definitely left a sour taste in our mouths. The one thing that we didn't get done last year was win the national championship. At the same time, we have moved on because we can't think about it too much or it will spoil our game. As soon as we got into practice this year, we looked back to see what we did and didn't do to see what we need to work on to get better."
GH: Do you feel like the team is going to go into the Stanford match wanting some revenge?
BH: "Of course. I think that there is a rivalry building between our two schools. We have knocked them off to go to the Elite Eight and they have knocked us off to go to the national championship game, so it has just been back and forth between our two teams. I think that we have a really good rivalry building up here and we are always pumped up to play Stanford."
GH: How did the team bond in the off-season?
BH: "We have so much fun together, whether we are having a birthday party or eating at Chipotles. We love hanging out together and doing fun things. We go to the beach sometimes to play beach volleyball, or sometimes we will even go shopping together."
GH: I heard the team played a game of Jeopardy with questions based on NCAA compliance rules, how did you do?
BH: "I totally cleaned house. I was intense. My team was awesome and I definitely had a great supporting cast. I got lucky because I am a transfer, so I already had to know a lot of the rules. It was a good victory and we ended up winning 239-80, so it wasn't even a contest."
GH: The Seattle Storm honored you guys at halftime for winning the Pac-10 Championship last year, what kind of experience was that?
BH: "It was really cool. We went to the Storm game, threw the first pitch at a Mariners game, and we were recognized in our own gym at a guys basketball game last season. Every time you kind of get chills as they announce the things that you have accomplished. I think my favorite one was to get recognized at our own basketball game, because those are our fans that are cheering for you. It is an unbelievable feeling."
GH: With so many players coming back this season, how much of an advantage is that for this year's team?
BH: "It is huge, because we have all of these players to teach the younger players coming in what they need to learn in order to be successful. Our practices are crazy because we have so many of us. Our freshman coming in are starting to grab a hold of what's going on, because they have so many people to watch and emulate. The best thing you can have is experience and we have it, plus some really good players."
GH: You are talking about leading the younger players coming in, now you are stepping into your senior season. Do you see yourself becoming a leader already?
BH: "It is weird for me because I can't even fathom that I am already a senior. It is nice to be able to see mistakes and things that you did when you were younger, so you know what to look for and you can help them to correct it. They are trying so hard and they are doing awesome. I think that is one of the most fun parts of the game, just being able to see the younger players come along and get better."
GH: What are your goals for your final season?
BH: "My ultimate goal is to win the national title and get that taken care of. Obviously, we want that Pac-10 Championship again as well. I just want to have the best time of my life, because this is something that myself and the team has worked for our entire lives. If you can get that national title, it's all worth it."
GH: You are already at the number two ranking in the nation, is it a goal to get to the one spot?
BH: "All we have to do is keep winning our games. We don't play Nebraska, who is number one, so we can't control anything that happens besides our own games. We can control ourselves and what we do. We can't think about Nebraska and we can't think about Hawaii, we just have to worry about our own business. It doesn't matter to us what we are ranked, as long as we are number one at the end."
GH: You are also picked to defend that Pac-10 title that you won last year, is that in the back of your mind at all?
BH: "We definitely want to win it again. The Pac-10 is probably the strongest conference in the nation, so if you can win a Pac-10 title it is quite an accomplishment. Three of the four teams in the Final Four last year were from the Pac-10. That just goes to show you how awesome our conference is."
GH: What are your plans after your career is over?
BH: "I definitely would like a chance to go and play some professional volleyball. I want to finish school first so that I can have my degree. I want to play volleyball until my body won't let me anymore and then I will try to get into a job that I would like."
GH: Do you see coaching in your future?
BH: "I love coaching. I have talked to Jim about it already, so I am considering it."