Q&A with Junior Middle Blocker Sebastian Brady
Junior Sebastian Brady burst on the collegiate volleyball scene with a strong freshman season, starting 26 of 28 matches while accumulating a .383 hitting percentage. As a sophomore co-captain in 2012, Brady continued to make his mark in the starting lineup and led the front row defense with a team-high 79 blocks. With the 2013 season well underway, Brady is positioned to have yet another stellar year. Head coach Kevin Ring says, "Sebastian brings a great deal of experience to our line-up as he's been a starting middle blocker since his freshman year. From a technical standpoint, he does a great job of getting up on time when attacking and closes to the wing blocker well when he blocks. But, much of what makes Sebastian a great player for us is that he holds himself accountable for his play. He wants to get better all of the time. This is Sebastian's second season as a captain and he continues to develop his leadership skills. I think he is becoming more and more comfortable with the role of a captain." The Chico High School product took time to talk about the team's early win over USC, his collegiate career, and the prospect of post-season qualification.
Q- With two very successful seasons under your belt, how did you prepare in the off-season to escalate your game?
BRADY- I took some much-needed time off, then got back on Rudy's (strength & conditioning coach Rudy Thomas) lifting program. I'm a lot stronger this season, so my body isn't giving me trouble like it used to. But most importantly, I coached camps for two straight months. Coaching forced me to re-learn the game from an entirely new perspective and increased my volleyball IQ exponentially.
Q- In January, the team recorded a decisive 3-0 win over USC. How does that win compare to others that you have been a part of, such as the recent sweep of Princeton?
BRADY- People will tell try to tell you that every win is worth the same, but that's just not true. Without going into too much detail, let's just say that one was extra sweet.
Q- After the USC win, the team seemed to go into a little bit of a lull. How has the team responded to that? What do you think it will take to get the team back to being able to win big matches such as that one?
BRADY- It's been a tough stretch. We've lost a lot of very tight games, which is always disappointing and tough to come back from. That being said, people aren't panicking. We're playing good volleyball. We just need to keep practicing and playing hard, and make a few minor changes. If we do that, the results will take care of themselves.
Q- Your team has been ranked in the National Top 15 since early January and nearly all of your opponents have been ranked as well. How do you feel about being a member of the competitive MPSF? What needs to happen for your team to break into the Top 10?
BRADY- It makes every night exciting because we know we're going up against the very best in the nation. It also adds pressure because we need to play very well to get a win against any team in the conference. I like us against any team in the conference, but to get into the Top 10, we need more consistency. We've played very good volleyball in stretches; we just need to make those stretches last longer.
Q- What are the greatest strengths of Head Coach Kevin Ring?
BRADY- Coaches put way more time into their jobs than anyone realizes or appreciates, and this is especially true of Coach Ring. The immense effort he puts into all facets of our program is crucial to our success. He's been around the game and this league for a long time, so his knowledge of the game is very complete. He's very good at breaking down the game into its component parts and teaching technically sound fundamentals.
Q- If you are struggling to score during a match, what do you do? Is there a particular teammate that you look to for help or inspiration?
BRADY- I always play better when I'm a little pissed off, so I try to find something to get my emotions going a little. To be honest, that sometimes leads down the dangerous road of trash-talking. Also, Fred Stahl and I make just about everything into a competition, so if he starts jabbering too much, I know it's time to quiet him down.
Q- How do you like to prepare on game day? Do you have any favorite pregame meals or habits?
BRADY- Naps are definitely key, and, even though we eat it way too much during season, I love that Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki from Subway. I always try to sneak food into the training room without getting caught; it's only worked once so far, but I'll keep trying. Right before the national anthem, I always eat half a Snickers. And when I hear "Chico" during introductions, I'm ready.
Q- Your father played football at Southern Methodist University and your mother was a tennis player at Louisiana State University. How did having parents that were collegiate athletes impact you and shape your desire to play college sports?
BRADY- I grew up playing all kinds of sports, but they never pushed me into playing. They actually kept me from playing as much as I wanted to because they wanted me to be more well-rounded. But even as a kid, I knew I wanted to play sports for as long as I could. I'm going to keep this thing going as long as possible.
Q- While growing up, you also played tennis. Did you hope to be the next Roger Federer? What was it about volleyball that drew you to the sport and made you want to continue playing?
BRADY- I always had too much of a temper to be a good tennis player. My mom started refusing to play me because of my tantrums. In high school, though, I was actually playing for her tennis team until the volleyball coach forced me to try out. Obeying turned out to be one of my better decisions.
Q- As a double major (political science and philosophy), your academic course load must be pretty heavy. What is your favorite way to unwind from such a rigorous athletic and academic schedule?
BRADY- I really enjoy bumping some Frank Ocean and working on my falsetto. I've also been getting into brunch lately.
Q- As a New Orleans Saints fan, what did you think of the Super Bowl that was held in your beloved Superdome?
BRADY- That blackout was a bad look, but it made a game out of it, so I guess it wasn't that bad. I was happy to see Ray Lewis go out on top. And Beyoncé... enough said. Free Sean Payton.
Q- You and your team are nearing the halfway point for the season. Do you find that mid-season is the toughest time? If so, how do you stay motivated?
BRADY- No lie, the season is a grind. We've been going since October. That takes a huge mental and physical toll, especially when you hit mid-season. At the same time, though, I try to appreciate that I'm playing a game I love at a very high level. And frankly, when the scoreboard's on, motivation is easy.
Q- What is one thing that you would like to accomplish athletically before this season comes to an end?
BRADY- Playoffs. That's the only thing on my mind.
Q- Last year the team's season ended on a disappointing note, finishing just one place out of qualifying for the MPSF Championship Tournament. How do you feel about the team's chances of securing a bid to this years' tournament?
BRADY- We're right there. It's going to take a lot of work from a lot of different guys, but it's in reach. We don't have one superstar to carry us there. We need everyone involved and making plays. When guys are handling business, we need to support them. When guys are struggling, we need to support them. If we do that, we'll get there.
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