Set, Spike and Stuff
with Stevi Cherry and Ashley Petrinec
During the 2005 Southern Miss Volleyball season, each Lady Eagle will match up with Athletics Media Relations Graduate Assistant Joe Trahan as he serves up questions about life and volleyball.
This week features freshmen Stevi Cherry and Ashley Petrinec. Cherry, an outside hitter, is from Tampa, Fla. and Petrinec, also an outside hitter, hails from Bloomington, Ill.
"The game is a lot quicker and more competitive. Everyone that plays in college is good, while some people only play in high school for fun."
What have you learned about college life so far?
"Since you have more freedom to do what you want, you have to be responsible, prioritize things with school and manage your time wisely."
Have your teammates made your adjustment to college life easier?
"I was lost in the beginning with some things, but they told me what to do and how things would be. By doing things like that, they helped make my adjustment better."
Have the two freshmen, you and Ashley Petrinec, stuck together this season?
"We weren't that close at first, but since we've been roommates, we've become good friends."
Playing a sport in the fall can be hectic. How much are you looking forward to the spring semester?
"I'm excited to see what it's like to be a 'normal student' in the spring."
Your typical schedule for the fall semester consisted of practice, games, travel and school. Was this what you expected?
"This is what I expected, but I didn't think that it was going to be as hard as what it has been, but I've handled it ok."
At the last regular season home match, seniors Jazzmien Stephens and Leslie Robertson played their final home match as Golden Eagles. What has their senior leadership meant to you?
"I'm going to miss them both. Jazzmien was the team captain this year, and we're going to miss hers and Leslie's leadership next year on and off the court."
What other sports do you enjoy watching, or are looking forward to watching, at Southern Miss?
"I like watching football, but we don't get to go to too many games because we both play in the fall. I also like watching basketball."
What has been the funniest moment of the season?
"We attempted to go to Tulsa and our flight was held over, so we had wheelchair races in the airport. I was pushing Morgan (Johnson) and decided to jump on it like you would for a grocery cart and we both fell, flipped backwards, slid across the floor and I busted my knees and had two big bruises."
"Off the court, Leslie (Robertson), and on the court, I've looked up to everyone. Leslie and I are the same person in that we have a lot of similarities. She's also really goofy and that has helped me when I was struggling with some things. I really got to know her, and I'm going to miss her a lot."
You have stepped in and played from the first match of the season. Were you surprised or nervous to get a lot of playing time as a freshman?
"I wasn't surprised or nervous because that was one of the reasons why I decided to come to Southern Miss. I knew that I had to earn my spot, but I wanted to come into a program that I could contribute to and work hard for."
A lot of people don't think that volleyball is a game full of many injuries, but have you had to deal with any nagging injuries this season?
"I've hurt my shoulder, had shin splints, a knee contusion and a sprained foot. The trainers have become my best friends as I am in the training room every day."
How tough is this sport to play?
"It's pretty tough. I knew that it was going to be hard in collegiate volleyball, but my body is revolting against me at the moment so hopefully next year will be better."
Have you or Stevi had to deal with any rough treatment as freshmen?
"They make a couple of jokes about us, but I think Stevi gets it more than I do. The older players told us when we got here that they won't do anything to humiliate us. The only thing that we have to do is carry the coaches/staff bag, or we'll get 'punished' if we don't."
It's a long way from Hattiesburg, Miss. To Bloomington, Ill., so have you become homesick at any point during this season?
"I didn't until my parents surprised me by coming to our match at Memphis. After that visit I started to think about coming home, and now I'm going to come home for Thanksgiving. Even at the beginning, I would call my parents and tell them that I wasn't homesick because I was having so much fun here. However, towards the end of the season I have become homesick."
How different is Illinois from Mississippi?
"It's very different. It's very cold back home, unlike here where people think that this is cold and I'm still walking around in a t-shirt. Other than the climate, and the fact that there are more trees here, the only difference is that Hattiesburg is strictly a college town and Bloomington isn't."
Would you say that your teammates have been your sisters and family these past few months?
"Definitely, especially during the hurricane. We had to get to know our teammates in the summer because no one else was here and they helped us move in and told us where to go and things like that. They've been helpful since I got here."
Is it safe to say that you're very emotional and vocal on the court?
"Yes. I'm very crazy after a point or block where I yell and scream, which has been my trademark since my senior year in high school. I've always been excited about getting points and expressed that by being vocal. When I played for my club team, I found that my role was to yell and get my teammates excited and I adapted to it and brought it here. I enjoy doing it and it gets me fired up when anyone on our team does something good because it allows me to scream until my face turns red."