After just two seasons at UC San Diego, junior opposite Frank Fritsch is already 12th on the school’s all-time kills list with 695 and last year was a key component on a Triton team that won an all-time high 10 matches. But, according to Head Coach Kevin Ring, the best may still be ahead for the 6-foot-7 Los Gatos native. “Frank is really coming into his own as an MPSF (Mountain Pacific Sports Federation)-caliber opposite,” says Ring. “He had a good fall practice session and is much more consistent than he’s been in the past. I expect him to carry a big load for us.” With the 2009 campaign looming, Fritsch shared some thoughts on his past and future at UC San Diego.
Q: Were you surprised to step into the starting lineup as a freshman?
FRITSCH: I was very surprised to be starting as a freshman, especially in a position that I had never played before college. I think most of the other freshmen were just as surprised as I was but there were a lot of first-year players on the team that year to compete for spots so it wasn’t that unlikely that a few of us would start.
Q: What was the biggest adjustment going from high school volleyball to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation?
FRITSCH: Overall the biggest adjustment that I had to make was for the speed of the game. All of the players we played against were much faster, stronger and had been playing for quite a bit longer at a much higher level. When I first started it felt a lot like being on the JV team in high school playing the varsity team.
Q: The team doubled its win total between your freshman and sophomore seasons. What do you think was the biggest reason for the improvement?
FRITSCH: Between freshman and sophomore year we had a lot of returning players who had seen the court, were used to being part of the team, and knew how things were done. Practices became more competitive between players, making people work hard for their spots. It definitely helps having a lot of talent on the team to work with.
Q: What has been the highlight of your UCSD career to date?
FRITSCH: My highlight came when we beat UCLA and UC Irvine in the same weekend and both in five games. It was UCSD’s first-ever win ever over UCLA and UCI was the previous year’s national champion. It really showed our team what we are capable of in the future.
Q: You were part of the aforementioned freshmen class that forms the core of the 2009 team. What does each of those teammates bring to the court?
FRITSCH: Well we have five people from that class (Adrian Guthals, Will Ehrman, Jason Spangler, and Erik Sierks) and all five of us have always been on the travel roster which helps with having an older more experienced group of players.
Adrian has been hurt and it will be nice to have him back after missing him last season so that we can have an almost completely healthy squad to train with. Each of the members of that freshmen class definitely has his own responsibilities and achieves them at the highest level.
Q: How close is that group away from the volleyball arena?
FRITSCH: The team is very close knit outside of the gym. Most of the guys are living with at least one other player from the team and on weekends most of us are together hanging out. It really shows in the gym because we respect each other and can work together without the worry of hurting the chemistry of the team.
Q: What do you consider your greatest attribute on the court? Off the court?
FRITSCH: On the court I would have to say that my greatest attribute would be the fire I try to create to keep the team going when we are doing well or pick the team up when we aren’t doing our best. Off court I like to hang out with the rest of the team as much as I can especially in the beginning of the year to try and bring everyone together.
Q: What would you change about yourself if you could?
FRITSCH: If I could change one thing I would change how I pick myself up after I make multiple mistakes in a row. I know it affects the team and how I’m going to play for the next few plays thereafter. I think it would help my mental toughness if I could get onto the next play more easily.
Q: Aside from athletics, what do you like about UC San Diego? Living in San Diego County?
FRITSCH: I really like downtown San Diego a lot. I find myself going down there quite a bit whether its to go take pictures, eat at Extraordinary Desserts or try to take in a Padres game with some friends or family. The beaches are always nice, of course, especially in La Jolla.
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time? What are some things you’ve never tried that intrigue you?
FRITSCH: I enjoy photography in my spare time and am getting more interested in it especially after having recently taken a photography course at the school. I’ve never tried sky diving and I always seem to see them landing as I’m driving north on 5. I’d like to try it but I’m not sure if I’d jump once I got up there.
Q: Both of your parents are graduates of Cornell University. Was there any pressure for you to attend their alma mater?
FRITSCH: Not really since I found out that UCSD had such a good engineering school, maybe even better than Cornell’s. They might have had some influence in me being an engineer since that’s the kind of profession I was around the most, but the idea of going to college at their alma mater wasn’t that important to me.
Q: Both of your parents were also collegiate athletes. Was that helpful in your athletic development?
FRITSCH: It definitely helped since they had experience with every sport I played growing up and could help me develop outside of practice -- except for volleyball. That was the only sport where it was kind of a learning process for everyone but it’s the one I stayed with all the way up through college.
Q: You’re an electrical engineering major. What interests you about that subject and what do you hope to do with your degree?
FRITSCH: It interests me because I deal with everything that we interact with on a regular basis so it’s a major that’s definitely applicable from day to day. I’m not sure if I’m going to use my major to go farther in the engineering sciences or try and get an MBA but either way I’m sure that an engineering degree from UCSD will help.
Q: What are your expectations for the 2009 season? What are your big picture goals before leaving UC San Diego?
FRITSCH: We are definitely going to make playoffs at the rate we are going with all of the hard work and improvement that has been going on during practice and the preseason tournaments we’ve been involved in. We still have a lot of hard work to put in but I think we are capable of doing so and going the farthest the program has ever gone. We have a limitless amount of potential with this team.
Previous Q & A Articles
Ron Larsen (USA Volleyball Assistant Coach) October 13, 2008
Jessica McGovern (Women's Soccer) October 6, 2008
Bre Schofield (Cross Country) September 26, 2008
Tony Fernandez (Men's Soccer) September 18,2008
Kimberly Carpenter (Women's Volleyball) September 12, 2008
A.J. Kotanjian (Men’s Water Polo) September 2, 2008
Peter Akman (Men's Soccer) August 21, 2008
Natasha Belak-Berger (Women's Soccer) August 15, 2008
Jake LaVieux (Men's Cross Country) August 8, 2008
Dr. Penny Rue (Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs) July 30, 2008
Michelle Torres (Women's Volleyball) July 15, 2008
Jon Pascale (Men's Soccer Head Coach) July 1, 2008
Julie 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