The UC San Diego women’s volleyball team enters the 2007 season as the NCAA D-II Pacific Region defending champion. The Tritons return 11 letterwinners, including senior libero Natalie Facchini. The Napa native anchors the Triton defense as a defensive specialist and tied an NCAA D-II Tournament record with 40 digs in a single-match as a freshman in 2004. Facchini recently took time from her summer schedule to discuss this past spring season and the outlook for the upcoming year.
Q- How did the team look during spring practices? Did you work on a specific part of your game? The team looked very solid through out the spring.
FACCHINI- It gave me great confidence for our team for the upcoming season. I personally focused on my passing and defense in the spring.
Q- How have you been spending your summer?
FACCHINI- I went home to visit my family for a week but then I had to come back and go to work. Pretty much working both of my jobs, everyday. Not too fun. And training for the upcoming season of course.
Q- What did you enjoy about being a part of the NCAA National Championships Festival in Pensacola?
FACCHINI- It felt so amazing to make it that far. It was a very rewarding feeling being able to participate in Nationals because we had worked so hard to get there and we deserved it. I loved the whole experience in Pensacola. Playing in the quarter finals was the highlight. Being able to play volleyball at such a high level was unbelievable.
Q- UCSD lost senior starters Nicole Courtney, Kristin Halvorsen and Briana Koche from the 2006 squad to graduation. Which returning student-athletes do you expect to have strong years in 2007?
FACCHINI- I expect Amber Ries to have another amazing season. She has always been such a strong asset to our team and she will peak this season. I believe that Sylvia Schmidt, only going to be a sophomore, is another one of our girls to look out for. She played middle last year for us and did a tremendous job. No matter where you put her on the court she will be amazing.
Q- In practice, which teammate or teammates have the toughest serve to receive?
FACCHINI- Lauren Bradley has a brutal serve. Sylvia also has a very difficult serve. I love passing serve receive, since it is one of my primary jobs, but those two girls’ serves are not fun.
Q- You were on the court for UCSD’s 2004 Pacific Regional loss to CSUSB and also on the court for UCSD’s 2006 Pacific Regional win against the Coyotes. Did the win this past season seem especially sweet for you?
FACCHINI- Of course, but I always love beating CSUSB no matter when during the year. The 2004 loss was so hard because we fought so hard to beat Hawaii Pacific the night before and then to loose to the coyotes was dreadful. The same thing happened in 2006 with defeating CSLA the night before and then to come back and actually beat CSUSB was the best feeling ever. It was sweet revenge.
Q- What would you like to do with your Management Science major?
FACCHINI- I would like to work in high fashion, as a buyer to merchandiser. I want to work in corporate for a designer like Chanel, Prada, or something similar.
Q- There are four current student-athletes on your team that played basketball in high school. Who would win a one-on-one tournament between Amber, Rebecca, Hannah and yourself?
FACCHINI- I would for sure, just kidding. I know Tom would want me to say that I would without a doubt, you know like to talk smack on the other girls but I honestly don’t know. I think probably Rebecca or myself. I have never seen any of us play so I don’t know the skills of the other girls.
Q- Being from Northern California, what are your likes and dislikes of both Northern and Southern California?
FACCHINI- I like that southern California people drive faster. I like the beaches in southern California too. I miss the greenery of Northern California though. I also LOVE San Francisco and used to go all the time so I miss that.
Q- What do you enjoy doing off the volleyball court?
FACCHINI- Laying out by the pool or at the beach. Hanging out with my volleyball girls. Watching FRIENDS and Sex and the City. I love to shop as well... but that’s of course when I have the money.