Senior Roxanne Brunsting has been something of a jack-of-all trades during her career with the UC San Diego Women's Volleyball team. After turning in the second and third best single season dig totals in UCSD history as a freshman and sophomore and grabbing Honorable Mention All-America honors as a libero in 2009, she was switched to outside hitter and spent considerable time at setter under new Head Coach Ricci Luyties in her junior season. She first team All-CCAA and All-West Region accolades last fall, as well as another Honorable Mention All-America nod after finishing first on the team in aces, as well as second in kills, assists and digs. With her senior campaign just underway, the Chula Vista native took time to talk about her time at UC San Diego and what she looks for in this year's club.
Q-How does it feel to open your final collegiate season in Hawaii?
BRUNSTING- It feels really good! I started my career here as a redshirt and its a little surreal to be able to end it here as a senior.
Q-Career-wise, is it hard to believe your senior season is here?
BRUNSTING-Honestly, yes! I have no idea where my time went-it flew by so fast! And it's hard not to wish I could start over with the knowledge and experience I have gained so far.
Q-As a player, do you feel a heightened sense of urgency knowing this is the "last time around?" If so, how have you reacted to that emotion?
BRUNSTING-I wouldn't say its a "heightened sense of urgency." I honestly just want to enjoy my last season, and I know that I will put in the work to do well with my team. I have just been thinking about this season on a daily basis, so I can enjoy each moment and hopefully squeeze as much as I can out of it.
Q-After holding down the libero position as an underclassman, you switched between outside hitter and setter last year as a junior? What's the plan in 2011?
BRUNSTING-It's looking like I will be setting and playing opposite. But the real plan is to win! And I'm prepared to do whatever I can to make the best team-wherever that puts me.
Q-In your mind, what are the primary differences in the positions you've played and which do you prefer? Why?
BRUNSTING-That is such a tough position, they are all so different. I think each one is a favorite for different reasons, but I do miss being a libero.
Q-This year's squad has a heavy senior component with all four likely to be in the regular starting lineup. Can you briefly talk about the strengths of your three senior teammates and share what you think the four of you bring the team as a group?
BRUNSTING-There are so many strengths I couldn't possibly name them all! But I think the biggest are that each one of us wants to win and we know what it takes to put ourselves in a position to do that.
Q-Is there anyone among the returners you feel is poised for a "breakout" season? Who has impressed you among the newcomers?
BRUNSTING-To be honest, everyone came back ready to go, and ready to be their best. The two starting freshmen Lauren (Demos) and Amber (Hawthorne) have really bought their "A" game and a desire to win. They have already started to take leadership roles and its awesome to be a part of! And all of the returning sophmores have come back ready to play. Every single member of this team has impressed me.
Q-You were a local product, having graduated from Bonita Vista High School. Has it been a positive playing relatively close to home? In what ways?
BRUNSTING-Yes, definitely. I have loved staying close to my family and having the ability to play for them means the world to me.
Q-Speaking of home, your brother Mike was a freshman setter on the UCSD Men's Volleyball team last spring. What was it like having him on campus and competing at UCSD? Do the two of you ever confer on technique, strategy or anything else volleyball-related?
BRUNSTING-We definitely talk volleyball. Staying in SD allowed me to follow his high school years so weve been talking volleyball for some time now, and I love it! I have loved being able to see him on a regular basis around campus, although I know I cramp his style.
Q-This is your second season with Coach Ricci Luyties. What can you say about his coaching style and how do you feel the team has responded to him?
BRUNSTING-He fosters an environment in which true all-around volleyball players can succeed and really stresses working on being able to play every part of the game. Its an intense environment, but at the same time he knows what it means to love volleyball and reminds us we are here to enjoy the journey. I think he is really creating an awesome team and a great team feel. I can't wait to keep up with where he takes this program in the next few years.
Q-Is he as laid back as he seems? Is there anything that shakes him up or gets him perturbed?
BRUNSTING-He is laid back, but there are definitely things that get under his skin. He has an intensity about him when he needs it and he makes sure to keep us focused and on the right track.
Q-You've listed reading and painting among your outside interests. What are some recent books you'd recommend? What's your all-time favorite?
BRUNSTING-The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy is awesome! If you're into dry humor Christopher Moore is pretty entertaining. As for my all time favorite.. thats a tough one. The Harry Potter books, Ninteen Minutes by Jodi Piccoult, and the first two books in the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo come to mind.
Q-How did you become interested in painting? Is there any particular style that you prefer?
BRUNSTING-My grandfather taught me. And I stick to acrylic because ts what I know, but I'd love to learn to paint with oil when im older. As for a style.. I wouldn't say I have one, it always depends on my mood or who I am painting for, as most of the paintings I have done have been gifts.
Q-You're a psychology major at UCSD. What do you plan to do with that after graduating? Using what you've learned, how would you describe your personality?
BRUNSTING-I want to play in Europe for at
least a year and hopefully figure out exactly what I want to do during that
time. I know I want to go to grad school for psych when I come back, I'm just
not sure what I want to specialize in yet. Unfortunately, I'm a phenomenal
procrastinator, so hopefully everything works itself out!
As for my personality.. I have learned a ton! I'd say I am pretty guarded, I tend towards introversion, and I am a bit of a perfectionist. But I wear my emotions on my sleeve amd am passionate about the things I believe in and the people closest to me.
Q-The team has reached the NCAA Playoffs in each of your first three seasons but never gone beyond the regional semi-finals. What do you think this team is capable of? Why?
BRUNSTING-This team is capable of anything! And we won't know what that is until we get there, but I am confident that we will be working hard every single day to make us the best we possibly can be and then some when we get to post-season. I can't wait to find out where that takes us! But for now I'll be enjoying every minute the journey.
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