The UC San Diego women’s volleyball team returns to the court for the 2008 campaign in August, taking on the defending national champions from Concordia-St. Paul. UCSD’s schedule includes several tough match-ups, and the always challenging California Collegiate Athletic Association. The Tritons return 10 letterwinners from last year’s team which advanced to the NCAA Pacific Region semifinals, losing to national runner-up Western Washington in five games. Senior defensive specialist Michelle Torres has been a part of the Tritons’ success for the past three years and recently discussed the upcoming year and life as a student-athlete at UC San Diego.
Q- What are some of your top volleyball memories?
Torres- There are a lot of great moments with teammates that come to mind when I think about the past three years but the one that stands out the most is our four game victory over CSUSB in the Pacific Regional Finals two years ago. They have always been one of our biggest rivals and we were 1-1 with them in conference that year, so to end their season in their gym and earn our way to Nationals in Florida was such an incredible feeling. Hopefully we’ll be able to top that this season.
Q- You played some outside hitter during your freshman year and have been a defensive specialist since. Are there times where you’d like to go back to playing OH?
Torres- Sometimes I miss it because it was the primary position I played throughout high school as well. The move to the defensive specialist position was necessary at the time because of a back injury that prevented me from hitting. But I think I’ve grown as a defensive player over the past couple of years and have accepted it as my role on this team. I really enjoy it and I don’t ever think about playing OH anymore.
Q- How did you feel about this past Spring Season? Did any of your teammates impress you?
Torres- As with all of our off season training, I was impressed by all of my teammates and felt that everyone really stepped up and showed a genuine desire to improve as much as possible during the spring. It makes a huge difference when you’re surrounded by people as motivated as my teammates are, and it gives me a lot of confidence going into this next season. I’m also really excited to have Sylvia Schmidt back who has been recovering from shoulder surgery.
Q- How do you spend your summer time?
Torres- I usually just try to go to the beach as much as possible. Unfortunately, this summer I’m stuck taking summer school, but I’m also assistant coaching the volleyball team at the high school I attended which has been a lot of fun.
Q- Which other UCSD sporting events do you enjoy attending?
Torres- My teammates and I have been very fortunate in receiving a lot of support from other UCSD athletes, so we try and reciprocate as much as possible. I really like watching soccer and basketball games in particular, because those are the sports I played before I picked up volleyball. The men’s volleyball team is always really fun to watch as well.
Q- Do you have any hobbies?
Torres- I love going to the beach and I really like to snowboard.
Q- What do you enjoy about head coach Tom Black?
Torres- I have a lot of respect for Tom as a coach and also just as a person in general. He’s so passionate about volleyball and very committed to this program. I don’t think any coach could have taken this team as far as he has in the short time he’s been at UCSD.
Q- As one of four seniors on the team, do you have any added responsibilities?
Torres- I think as a senior and a veteran on any team, there is always the responsibility of providing guidance to the younger players. I have the advantage of knowing what is expected and what it takes to be a part of this program and it’s my job as a senior to pass that along to the incoming freshmen and set a good example. Often with experience comes the added role of leadership.
Q- What is something about you that most people do not know?
Torres- I grew up playing soccer for most of my life and didn’t start playing volleyball until high school.
Q- Do you follow any other college or professional teams closely?
Torres- Outside of UCSD athletics, the only college team I follow is the USC football team. My parents both graduated from USC so we’ve always been pretty big fans. I also follow the Lakers and the AVP (professional beach volleyball) pretty closely.
Q- What are your after-graduation plans?
Torres- I plan on applying to physical therapy school this fall. Ideally I would love to spend some time traveling in Europe the summer after graduation before beginning grad school.
Previous Q&A Articles
Jon Pascale (Men's Soccer Head Coach) July 1, 2008Julie Ertel (Athletics) June 16, 2008
Clint Allard (Men's Basketball) June 9, 2008
Jen Myers (Women's Crew) May 27, 2008
Casey Ryan (Men's Track and Field and Men's Basketball) May 21, 2008
Keith Noe (Baseball) May 13, 2008
Liz LaPlante (Women's Tennis Head Coach) April 30, 2008
Sydney Gstettenbauer (Women's Water Polo) April 22, 2008
Sarah Hendy (Women's Track and Field) April 17, 2008
Eric Leserman (Men's Volleyball) April 9, 2008
Danielle Lukk (Softball) April 4, 2008
Chris Franco (Baseball) March 24, 2008
Dan Perdew (Swimming) March 18, 2008
Evan Hsiao (Swimming) March 9, 2008
Eric Rubens (Men's Tennis) February 27, 2008
Melissa Ward (Softball) February 20, 2008
Cameron Sprowles (Fencing) February 13, 2008
Kim Hockett (Women's Water Polo) February 6, 2008
Trevor Decker (Baseball) January 31, 2008
Jordan Lawley (Men's Basketball) January 23, 2008
Jason Spangler (Men's Volleyball) January 5, 2008
Andrew Skewes (Men's Diving) December 26, 2007
Alexis Gaskin (Women's Basketball) December 17, 2007
Aubrey Panis (Women's Swimming) December 2, 2007
Andrew Hatch (Men's Basketball) November 26, 2007
Kevin Klein (Men's Cross Country) November 12, 2007
Kim Adams (Women's Volleyball) November 7, 2007
Ben Miller (Men's Water Polo) October 31, 2007
Alie Avina (Women's Soccer) October 19, 2007
Charity Elliott (Women's Basketball Head Coach) October 15, 2007
Jason Le (Men's Soccer ) October 3, 2007
Rebecca Bailey (Women's Volleyball) September 18, 2007