Kendahl Voelker is a second-year right side hitter on the Virginia volleyball team. As the season comes to a close, Voelker tells VirginiaSports.com her thoughts on the coaches, teammates and goals for the remainder of the season. The Cavaliers head to Wake Forest and Duke for their final away contests this weekend, facing the Demon Deacons on Friday before playing Duke on Saturday. First serve is slated for 7 p.m. in both matches.
Question: The team has won its last three matches, heading into the final three matches of the season. How do you feel the team is playing right now?
Voelker: I know that we are playing with a greater passion now that we know the season is ending and we are determined to finish strong. We want to win no matter what and there is a desire to keep improving, whether we make NCAAs or not.
Question: Do you sense a different direction and attitude for the program since the addition of the new coaching staff?
Voelker: There is definitely a much greater drive to improve not only with our technical volleyball skills, but also with our mental game. The new coaches are so knowledgeable about seemingly every facet of the game that every day I learn something new. I know that next year we will be even stronger because we have the fundamentals to be successful. After another year with Lee, Jill and Ted, we will be even stronger, more disciplined and competitive. I can't wait for next year, I sense an ACC championship for sure.
Question: What are some of the team goals for the remainder of the season?
Voelker: Well, finishing strong has been a big emphasis as of late. We define what it means to finish strong each day, especially since the end of season is near, and that inspires us to keep improving each day.
Question: Are you superstitious at all, anything you have to do or wear or eat the day of or before a match?
Voelker: No, not really. But I like to wear my hair in a braided ponytail and always with a hair band, or else my locks get out of control. As for food, during the match, when we are in the locker room between games, I eat a few grapes for energy. I’m not very big on superstitions though.
Question: What's unique about your team and/or teammates?
Voelker: We are each other’s best friends and all of us get along amazingly well. Not only are we friends, but we are each other’s coaches, too. There is a great deal of communication on and off the court. Everyone wants to be an obligate teammate.
Question: Who has the toughest attack to defend?
Voelker: Probably the middle hitters when they hit a one-ball straight down onto the 10-ft line. It's almost impossible to dig.
Question: What is your favorite Virginia volleyball tradition?
Voelker: Blasting Britney Spears and various songs on my iPod before matches in the locker room.
Question: Coming from Florida, how does your hometown compare to Charlottesville?
Voelker: I miss home because of the great beaches and I know where everything is in Fort Myers. In Charlottesville, there is a lot more historically interesting places and most of my friends live here. Besides getting all four seasons here at UVa, rather than summer all year round back home, the biggest difference is the traffic. Most people are very polite drivers here, but I'm used to using my horn to tell snow birds that they can’t drive in the left hand lane 10 miles under the speed limit.
Question: Where is the most interesting place you've been? How long were you there for and why were you there?
Voelker: I am proud of living in Saudi Arabia. Although I lived in Jubail, my favorite place would have to be Khobar. It was so much fun walking the streets and shopping around in small jewelry and carpet stores. The malls were really great because they had so many great shops, just like the U.S. The food, although different, was amazing and I miss eating Labna and cheese bread with my mom after a long day at Al-Shulla mall.
'Hoos Eager to Take First StepFootball8/29/16At 3:30 p.m. Saturday, against Richmond at Scott Stadium, Bronco Mendenhall makes his debut as Virginia's head football coach.Change Marks New Era at Scott StadiumFootball8/28/16University of Virginia football fans will notice many changes in the team's first season under head coach Bronco Mendenhall.Revamped Cavaliers Ready for New SeasonMen's Soccer8/26/16Newcomers abound for the Virginia men's soccer team, which opens the season Friday night against Coastal Carolina at Klöckner Stadium.
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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