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Set, Spike and Stuff

Nov. 16, 2005

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 sophomores Kaitlyn Deutsch, Morgan Johnson and Nicole Rock. Deutsch, a setter/libero from St. Louis, Mo., made 80 kills, 29 service aces, 192 assists, 202 digs and 26 blocks during her freshman season. Johnson, a middle blocker from Benton Ill., posted 200 kills, 182 digs and 43 total blocks in her freshman season. Rock, a middle blocker from El Cajon, Calif., recorded 167 kills, 34 digs and 63 total blocks in her freshman season.

Kaitlyn Deutsch

Kaitlyn Deutsch

How often is your name mispronounced at away matches?
"Almost every game. It doesn't annoy me; in fact, I think it's funny."

Have teachers ever struggled with your last name?
"Yes, though they usually avoid saying my last name and just say my first name."

How prepared were you to step in as the starting setter after Ednali Serralta suffered an injury a few weeks ago?
"I was ready and excited to play. You have to be ready to play at all times."

You have played other positions, but are you most comfortable with playing setter?
"Yes, setting and defense."

You are also a defensive specialist, or libero, as well. Do the two positions of setter and libero have the most responsibility on the court?
"They both have a lot of responsibility, but out of the two, there is probably more responsibility and pressure on the setter first, and then the libero."

As a bio-chemistry major, what do you plan to do with your degree?
"I want to go to grad school for cosmetic engineering and create makeup."

Like many girls on the team, you played basketball in high school, but you also played soccer as a midfielder. Do you think that you still have the ability to play collegiate soccer?
"It would be awesome to play collegiate soccer! I would probably be able to keep up with college soccer players, but they're probably a lot better than me."

Describe the personality of Kaitlyn Deutsch on the court:
"Intense, focused and excited to play."

Describe the personality of Kaitlyn Deutsch off the court:
"Fun, outgoing and loves to laugh. Basically, I'm the same person on and off the court."

What would the sport of volleyball be like without teamwork?
"It wouldn't be a sport and would be horrible."

Morgan Johnson

Morgan Johnson

What is the exact count for the amount of times you've changed your hair color this season?
"I've changed my hair color three times this season (blonde, red and cinnamon sticks). I'm going to change it one more time. I was going to do it this weekend, but I'm going to do it before the C-USA Tournament. I need Amber Bloom, our hair professional, to dye my hair. For the tournament, I'm going with blonde with a little bit of red in it."

Have you found the right color for your hair?
"No, and I don't think that I'll ever be satisfied with it."

About how hard, speed-wise, do collegiate volleyball players hit the ball?
"The ball is usually hit hard because the game is played at a fast pace, unless you play against a slower team. Everything is faster in collegiate volleyball."

As anyone who plays the game will find out, "digging" for a ball can really hurt. Is there any technique to avoiding red spots on your arms and wrists?
"It takes time to get used to it, where it doesn't hurt your arms anymore. Even when you do get used to it, depending on the ball that is used, it's still going to hurt you."

Explain the rolling technique that every volleyball player seems to do after an attempted dig.
"We practice the roll a lot. It's a technique used to get down and back to your feet quickly, without hurting your self. But since you hit the ground so much, you're going to bruise anyway."

The middle blocker position places you literally in the middle of the court. Explain what it's like to play that position.
"At that position, I think you're probably the most involved player on the team because you're up at the net with the first chance to attack the ball before the other team does."

Since this is a fast paced game, do you like it that way, or do you try to slow it down?
"I love the game to be fast paced and I hate slow games. My passion is for the speed and intensity of the game."

Is volleyball a good way to vent your frustrations?
"Definitely. I feel much better after practice each day."

Ever imagine that the ball is someone's face?
"All the time!"

What can we expect from the Lady Eagle volleyball team at the C-USA Volleyball Tournament (Nov. 17-20), starting with the first round against East Carolina?
"With facing ECU in the first round of the tournament, I think we're close at matching each other in talent. I think we're going to come out ready to play, and we're going to surprise everyone."

Nicole Rock

Nicole Rock

Would you agree that you have one of the coolest last names in volleyball with "Rock?"
"Yes, definitely. My mom made a sign that says "Nicole Rocks USM." I enjoy it."

What does it mean to you to be the tallest girl on the team at 6'2"?
"I've always been the tallest girl on teams. I thought that when I came to college, I wouldn't be the tallest girl, but I still am."

Do you ever feel that your height is viewed as "the team's secret, but not so secret, weapon"?
"I don't know. We have some other tall girls on our team too."

A lot of people always say that they want to "get away" for college, but you really did from California to Mississippi. Was getting this far away from home your original intention?
"I didn't want to stay in California because I knew that I would move back there after school. I decided to go somewhere totally different. I love it here."

Being from California, do people ever assume you're supposed to act a certain way?
"Yes. They can tell I'm from California because I say 'like' all the time. I try to act like I have a southern accent though."

What is the job description of a middle blocker?
"You have to be up on every ball every single time, and be ready for a block or a kill at any time."

You, like a few other girls on the team, are a fashion merchandising major. So as I asked them, if you were in charge to design the next USM volleyball uniform, what would it look like?
"I don't know, but I don't like our warm-up shirts because they're so short and we're always pulling them down. I sort of like our uniforms though."

What has been the highlight of your career, thus far?
"I redshirted my first year (2003) and didn't play, but we had a great season (27-6 overall, 11-2 in C-USA). My highlight of this season has been being around all of the girls on this team every day."

If there was one thing you could change about the game of volleyball, it would be...
"To over-hit a serve."

The type of player you strive to be known as is...
"Really aggressive and not afraid of anything. I just want to be able to touch the ball every time and help the team in any way that I can."

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