By Livi Nichols
How long have you been playing volleyball?
I’ve been playing [for] 10 years.
Why did you start playing?
I started in the third grade. Both my parents played in college; it’s actually kind of how they met. So both my sister and I really got into the sport when we were really young.
What motivates you to keep coming back each year?
Well, just the general love for the sport. I feel like I get better at it every year, and I love to improve my skills and help other people improve their skills. Overall, it’s probably one of the most fun games I think I’ve ever witnessed or played.
What position do you play? Can you explain your role on the court?
I play…everything basically. I play right-side hitter for one rotation, and then every position in the back-row at some point, mostly middle back though. And that’s because I’m fairly strong in my passing, which is actually really difficult because it takes a really long time to master. When I’m in the front row I’m primarily playing outside-hitter. I guess its kind of difficult to play “all around” because you never get a break, and with my asthma it’s really hard. You don’t always get a chance to take your inhaler and breathe, but it’s a challenge, and I love challenges.
That’s awesome. How do you feel about playing with your sister, Emily?
It’s interesting! I’ve never actually played on a team with her before, which is kind of crazy. I’ve always just been a level ahead of her. So I’m looking forward to seeing how she improves and how we work together. I’m very hopeful for what we can achieve together.
Alright, last question: What are you most excited for this season? Especially being a senior?
I am so excited for the games really. The passion that comes from a volleyball game is probably one of the most incredible things that anyone could feel— ever. It’s thrilling and so full of passion. The feeling of an intense volleyball game is like opening the first present on Christmas morning— its incredible. And I’m really looking forward to getting that with the people on this team.
Olivia says: “I’d encourage anyone to try to get into volleyball. It’s actually quite easy if you get the dynamics down. It’s fun to play, plus you really get to become a team with the people who are playing with you and it’s like a family. You build on each other’s strengths and you become stronger and a better overall person because of it.”
Image: courtesy of Olivia Gardner