The UC San Diego women's volleyball team begins the 2009 campaign on August 26, followed by two tournaments. The Tritons will return three all-conference student-athletes, including senior setter Elaine Chen. Chen has helped the Tritons to 67 wins over the past three seasons, reaching the NCAA postseason during each campaign. The Walnut, Calif. native recently took time to discuss being a student-athlete on the UCSD women's volleyball team.
Q: How have you spent your summer, both in the gym and off the court?
CHEN: In the gym, I've been lifting and conditioning to stay in shape for when the season starts. Some of us were able to have some fun at open gyms together, otherwise we would play volleyball at the beach. Off the court, I've been trying to catch up with my friends and family back home as much as possible since I don't really go back a lot during the year. I took two classes during the first session of summer school, so that left me a week of freedom until volleyball started.
Q: What would you like to accomplish in this, your senior season?
CHEN: My goal this year is the same as every other year, I'd like to win nationals as a team. I think we have a lot of great players this year that can keep us at a consistently high level of play every game. Winning nationals would be the best thing ever.
Q: Did you work on any particular aspect of your game since the conclusion of last year?
CHEN: I've really tried to increase my vertical since last year. I'm not the tallest when it comes to volleyball, so I really want to get every little inch I can to help me block and jump higher on offense. Other than that, I've always wanted to keep speeding up the offense with the hitters, it's fun to see how far we can push our limits.
Q: Which newcomer(s) do you think has the best shot at landing a spot on the All-CCAA team?
CHEN: I think all of our new players are super talented and able to contribute a lot of great skill to our team. Of the three new players, I think Audrey (Green) has a great chance at getting on the All-CCAA team. She's a great blocker and she's really good offensively too.
Q: What is your most memorable UCSD volleyball moment?
CHEN: My most memorable moment is definitely going to nationals my freshman year. We went to Pensacola, FL and got to stay in a hotel with all the other athletes from the fall season from around the nation. It was a lot of fun just being with our team, playing in a new setting, and feeding off all the excitement from everyone.
Q: After an exhibition game on Aug 26, the Tritons travel to Michigan for a tournament. Are you hoping to do any site seeing while over there?
CHEN: To be honest I don't really know what to see in Michigan, but our athletic trainer, Vanessa, says there's a really good ice cream shop. But since we're not allowed to have desserts on away trips, we wont be able to go, so I guess I'm excited to just be in Michigan with the team and wait for the funny moments we'll be sure to have.
Q: Has being a senior set in for you? Do you have additional responsibilities this year as a senior?
CHEN: I don't really think being a senior has set in for me yet since we haven't had a game yet. I think once I hear the announcer say my name and label me as a senior it'll set in more. This year, I'm sharing the role as captain with Sylvia and Karen, so we all have additional responsibilities on and off the court. I think it's the most difficult for me since I love to play around and I'm usually the one getting in trouble.
Q: What would you like to do with your Management Science major?
CHEN: I don't really know what I want to do with my major. I'm sure it will come in handy with business and I'll be a little more econ savvy. I'm excited to see where the road will take me with the knowledge I've gained from UCSD. I'm open to anything, really.
Q: Do you have an idea of what you would like to do after you graduate?
CHEN: I would like to travel or live abroad in Greece once I graduate. I haven't really been able to do much long-term traveling in college, and I think it'd be nice to experience living in another country. I don't have any concrete plans for after college yet.
Q: What other sports at UCSD do you enjoy attending?
CHEN: I love watching our men's and women's basketball teams. Their games are really exciting and we have a lot of friends on both teams. I always like watching our soccer, men's volleyball, water polo, and baseball teams play. I'd say the most interesting sport I've seen on campus was the women's club rugby team. Those girls are so good and really intense!
Q: What are your favorite things to do when not playing UCSD volleyball?
CHEN: My favorite thing to do is hang out with friends outside of volleyball. We have had some of the best memories in volleyball, but we've had our fair share of fun off the court too. I like that our team mingles with a lot of athletes outside of volleyball too. We all have a really fun time hanging out.
Q: What would you tell an incoming recruit who is pondering a collegiate career, playing for head coach Tom Black?
CHEN: I'd tell her that our program is unlike any other in the nation. Tom pushes you to be the best player you can possibly be, and that's never easy. I think it takes a tough player to play for Tom, but all of us can say that we've learned and grown under his coaching for the better.
Q: If you did not play volleyball, is there a sport at UCSD that you would not mind playing?
CHEN: If I didn't play volleyball, I'd probably either play basketball or swim. I love playing basketball because it's so competitive and fast. It's definitely an intense sport! I love swimming too because there's no feeling like it!
Previous Q & A Articles
Jared Kukura (Men's Soccer) July 30, 2009
Dawn Lee (Former Women's Soccer Standout) July 8, 2009
Rob Mamula (Director of Athletic Performance) June 18, 2009
Garrett Imeson (Baseball) June 8, 2009
Leon Baham (Men's Track & Field) May 21, 2009
Kristyn Lesovsky (Softball) May 8, 2009
Kazumi Negishi (Men's Tennis) May 5, 2009
Laiah Blue (Women's Track & Field) April 16, 2009
Ryan Andre (Men's Crew) April 2, 2009
Josh Tanner (Baseball) March 24, 2009
Anju Shimura (Women's Swimming) March 7, 2009
Stephanie Bocian (Women's Water Polo) February 20, 2009
Lauren Chastain (Softball) February 5, 2009
A.J. Maulhardt (Men's Basketball) January 28, 2009
Annette Ilg (Women's Basketball) January 22, 2009
Steven Hardy (Men's Swimming) January 13, 2009
Frank Fritsch (Men's Volleyball) January 5, 2009
Kendall Bohn (Women's Swimming) December 22, 2008
Kelvin Kim (Men's Basketball) December 15, 2008
Michelle Osier (Women's Basketball) December 5, 2008
Sylvia Schmidt (Women's Volleyball) November 7, 2008
Denny Harper (Men's Water Polo Head Coach) October 17, 2008
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