Set, Spike and Stuff with Jazzmien Stephens
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 senior middle blocker, Jazzmien Stephens. The Lakewood, Calif. native has recorded 673 kills, 49 service aces, 200 digs, and 272 total blocks in her career.
What is a day in the life of a Southern Miss athlete?
“Wake up for an eight o’clock class, which continues with more classes the rest of the day; go straight from class to weight lifting; then weights to practice; get done around 7:30 or 8:00 p.m.; study, go to sleep and do it all over again.”
What is the hardest drill that Coach Luyties puts the team through?
“For me, it’s any drill that has to do with passing. I can’t stand passing, because I’m not the best passer. It’s like torture to me. This is probably one of the easiest drills for the other girls, but since it’s my weakness, it’s hard for me.”
It’s assumed that in order to be good in this sport, you must be tall. So growing up being taller than most girls (6’0), was it assumed that you would play a sport like volleyball or basketball?
“It was more assumed that I would play basketball. Being so tall, you walk into a store and people are like, ‘You play basketball?’ I would feel bad if I didn’t play a sport because I am this tall. I also think my father would be upset if I didn’t play.”
As a taller person, what sport would you love to play that perhaps doesn’t require much height?
“I would love to do gymnastics. When I was five years old, I was kicked out of gymnastics because I was too tall! I went twice and they told my mom that she might as well not bring me back because it was a waste of time because I was too tall.”
What is the greatest myth about the sport of volleyball?
“That it’s an easy sport that takes no skill. People think of it as fun and easy, but once they play, they realize that it’s an intense sport. It also annoys me when some people call it a girly sport and think that it doesn’t take an athlete to play it.”
As a senior looking back at college, how have your experiences at Southern Miss been?
“As I’ve become older, I feel like the time has come to finish up and do what you need to do. It’s been fun, and college has been the best years of my life.”
What is the funniest thing that can happen, or has happened, in a volleyball match?
“We were playing at Corpus Christi and the gym that we were in had no air conditioning. Now, I don’t sweat a lot, but some of my old teammates did. So during the match, all of that water ended being in the middle of the court. And when I went to hit a ball, I slipped and landed on my back with my feet up in the air! Then everyone paused until they saw that I was okay. I don’t think that there was a single person not laughing.”
During the course of a match, a player may or may not start and there are constant substitutions. How important is it to not be a selfish player and instead be a role player who may not be on the court the whole time?
“With any sport, you have to be ready to go in at any time if someone is not producing, or has been injured. This is especially true in volleyball, because on any given day someone can have a great game and on the other hand, they could have a bad game. So this is definitely an unselfish game. Sometimes you get thrown into it to change things up for a second, and you’ll get taken right back out. What makes this sport hard is that the lineups are never set in stone like most sports are and can be changed each game. To be successful in this sport you must be unselfish and go with the flow.”
Teams are often described as families. So what kind of family is this one?
“Obviously, with girls, you’re going to love each other at times; and you’re going to hate to be around each other sometimes! But that’s like any family though. As a team, I think we’re very close. We may have our fall outs, but we do a good job of keeping it off the court.”
Your last wish for this team as a senior is…