The UC San Diego women’s volleyball team begins a three-match homestand on Sept. 21 when it takes on 2nd-ranked Cal State San Bernardino. The Tritons enter the week with an 8-4 overall mark, having played five ranked teams in the process. Part of the team’s success this season can be attributed to outside hitter Rebecca Bailey. The Escondido native leads the team with 3.76 kills per game and is second on the team with 23 aces. Bailey recently took time to discuss being a student-athlete on the UCSD women’s volleyball team.
Q- How difficult was it last year, to change from middle blocker to the outside hitter position?
BAILEY- Although I had played as an outside hitter before in high school, playing it at the college level has definitely been a challenge. The position itself is so multi-faceted because it requires a mastery of every skill of the game: serving, back row attacking, front row attacking, blocking, defense, and serve receive passing. I think for me, the hardest part about the transition was my mental approach. I learned that changing positions is difficult, and it takes a lot of focus, determination, and most of all patience throughout the process.
Q- Has it been difficult playing 11 of your first 12 matches away from RIMAC?
BAILEY- I think our team was so eager to start playing actual matches that we never even realized that we were on the road for that long. We train all year long just to compete, so where the gym is located is irrelevant. On another note, traveling for so many games early on gives us a lot of experience playing in other gyms and environments, so we take it as an advantage that we have gained over those teams who have not yet played on the road as much.
Q- The women’s volleyball team recently completed a successful 4-0 trip in Hawaii. What were some of you favorite non-volleyball activities on the trip?
BAILEY- The trip to Hawaii was amazing! We were fortunate enough to get a whole day at the end to enjoy Hawaii without any practice or games. My favorite memory of the trip was when we drove to the North Shore and had an amazing dinner at one of our coach’s family member’s home. The food was great, the beach on the North Shore was beautiful, and the time spent bonding with the team was priceless!
Q- You participated on six different teams at your high school. Did you have a favorite? What sport do you miss?
BAILEY- Did I have a favorite?! Of course, Volleyball! The very first day that I tried out for the team my freshman year I fell in love with the sport. Everything about it was enjoyable to me. There was something about being able to hit a ball as hard as you could and not get a foul seemed appealing to me I guess. I enjoyed playing a lot of sports and I do miss basketball and softball at times, but they don’t even come close to my love for volleyball.
Q- What do you consider your “breakfast of champions?”
BAILEY- I love BREAKFAST. Literally, I wake up and within the first three seconds I am asking myself “what am I eating for breakfast today.” I never leave the house without food in my tummy! I love my cereals, fruits, bagels, and the occasional splurge on waffles!
Q- What are your favorite professional sport teams?
BAILEY- Haha. Believe it or not, I do not watch a lot of sports on television. I will watch the occasional football game with my husband (GO CHARGERS), but I don’t really watch too many other sports. I am sure that once I am done with my volleyball career, I will have a need for some adrenaline pumping competition, but for now all of my energy and athletic desires are spent on playing volleyball.
Q- Who are your favorite professional athletes?
BAILEY- I would have to say that I really enjoy watching LaDainian Tomlinson play. He is not only one of the best football players ever, but he is incredibly humble and a great teammate. I respect him because he practices hard, plays tough, breaks records, and yet still he treats others around him with dignity and respect.
Q- What is always playing on your ipod?
BAILEY- I love to dance, dance, dance! Anything with a fast beat and good rhythm is playing on my mp3 player.
Q- What is your favorite food?
BAILEY- Cheese! I love cheese!
Q- What is something about you that most people do not know?
BAILEY- This is a tough one since I am pretty loud and outgoing...hmmm...I am one of seven children and I want to have six children myself.
Q- Whom on this year’s team, would you nominate to sing the National Anthem before a match?
BAILEY- Although I have not heard her sing a complete song, I think that Kimberly Carpenter has a very pretty voice.
Q- What are the advantages of going to college close to your hometown (Escondido)?
BAILEY- Well for me there is a huge advantage since my husband is also from Escondido. We have recently moved to Del Mar (yay-finally), but it was pretty tough before when I was going to college at UCLA and was not closer to him. I also like the fact that I am able to visit with family and friends who still live in Escondido.
Q- What has been the highlight of your UCSD volleyball career thus far?
BAILEY- This one is an easy one. Going to Nationals last year was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Beating San Bernardino and then going to Florida for nationals was an experience of a lifetime. We trained and worked so hard last year, and although we were the underdogs and the runts of our conference, our sweat and determination beat the other teams down to size.