Junior Becky Perry led the team with 4.19 points per game in 2008.
Sept. 3, 2009
The Washington Huskies Volleyball team returns most the players from a team that came within a few points of advancing to the Final Four last year. One of the key players among those returners is outside hitter Becky Perry, named a second team All-American last year by Volleyball Magazine. The Austin, Texas native begins her junior year with a chance to solidify herself as one of the top hitters in the nation and Washington history. Perry found time to talk with Gohuskies.com between the two-a-day practice schedule the team has settled into for the year.
GoHuskies.com: The season opened well with two 3-0 victories last weekend. Did that give the team a confidence boost or is it business as usual?
Becky Perry: I would say it's business as usual because we're taking care of things at practice and that should show in the game.
GH: You have been a part of some very talented teams here. Where does this year's team rank in terms of a potential final result?
BP: We've definitely compared a lot of what this team is doing to what the team in 2005 did because there are a lot of similarities. It's funny, when Lauren Barfield broke her hand we were like, "Oh, well Sanja [Tomasevic] broke her hand in 2005 so that's good luck!" But definitely the mindset and the amount of upperclassmen that we have and how the underclassmen are responding to practice are very similar to 2005.
GH: Coach McLaughlin says this team is well focused, is there anything that you see the team doing differently this year mentally?
BP: I've changed who I am as a teammate. I'm really intense sometimes and it can come off as a little abrasive. I've definitely changed in the sense that I'm still really intense but I'm not as full force. I'm catering to my teammates' needs so I'm making changes in that area.
GH: How do you feel your role has changed, or is going to change this year?
BP: I would say that in years past I was more of just a hitter and a blocker in the front row. I've really had to step up in terms of passing and serving. My serve still needs a lot of work. I'm definitely more well-rounded as far as passing and defense goes.
GH: The attack from last year has all of its returners back. What type of advantages does that give the team?
BP: It's a huge advantage but if you ask any one of us we would say that it's all about passing and serving because we can't do anything with our attack if we don't get a good ball up for our setter to pass.
GH: Is an average of 4 kills per set over the season a realistic number for you? Your numbers have increased each year and that seems to be the next level.
BP: I would say that I don't expect to break any statistical records, but I do have high expectations as far as being better than I was last year. If that happens, then I will probably have met a goal. But mostly it's just making sure that every play is consistent it will rack up over time.
GH: Do you feel any added pressure from being named the Pac-10 favorite?
BP: It's mostly preseason stuff that doesn't affect us. It's exciting to know that we are acknowledged around the country but at the same time, it's only what matters in our gym.
GH: How is Coach McLaughlin different from other coaches that you've had, and how has that helped you as a player?
BP: He has higher expectations for us than anyone I've ever met and sometimes higher expectations for me than I have for myself. Mine are already so high that his seem unrealistic but at the same time because of that he makes me do things I never thought that I could do.
GH: How are things going with school? What do you plan on doing with your degree?
BP: I'm majoring in philosophy and I hope at some point in my life to go to either medical school or law school, mostly law school. But, I'm thinking volleyball until my body breaks down.
GH: Have you talked to any of your former teammates about playing volleyball professionally?
BP: I have a close friend Janine Sandell who was playing in Spain and now her, Alesha Deesing and Jessica Swarbrick are all playing in Spain. [Courtney Thompson and Swarbrick] both played in Switzerland. There's definitely been a lot of experience and they've talked to us about it. The biggest pieces of advice they give us is take what you learn here and appreciate this experience because there's nothing like it.
GH: How has your time been here in Seattle now that you are three years removed from coming to UW from Texas?
BP: It's been good. The Northwest has been really accepting of me. I grew up watching Longhorn volleyball since I was 12 but being in that gym and then playing in front of this crowd I can say that after being on visits and growing up down there that there are no fans like there are here. It's like a family. It's not just a place to celebrate points. People stay after and really care about the players here.