Interview with Volleyball Captain Alena Moldin
Every week, Girls Volleyball is one of the most exciting events for Lakeville South students. Over the years the team has built a culture and expectation of winning that has passed on to its current squad. On the journey to another appearance at state, we interviewed two of the captains Jasmine Mulvihill and Alena Moldin to discuss their thoughts on the season and team. This is our interview with Alena.
Q: What do you think Cougar Volleyball’s strengths and weaknesses are this season?
A: So, for strengths, I’d say we’re really close as a team so that it shows on the court, like, we play well together and then we also stay really steady throughout the games. We don’t have a lot of times when we’re doing really good at one point and then really bad at another, so pretty consistent. And then for weaknesses, um…sometimes we struggle with communication because we all wanna go for every ball and then sometimes it just drops because no one knows what’s happening, so it can be a little chaotic but for the most part, we are pretty good at it.
Q: This is your senior year. How do you think you’ve improved throughout your years at South volleyball-wise, academic-wise, and personal-wise?
A: So personally I feel like I’ve become more outgoing and instead of sticking with only the certain people you want to talk to, I feel like I know more of the people in my grade and then volleyball-wise, I mean obviously I’ve gotten better at server and defense and then for grades I think I’ve gotten less uptight about it because I know my freshman year, it’s like the first year of high school…you wanna get everything perfect, but now it’s just, you kinda go with the flow more.
Q: What are some challenges that you have faced as a student-athlete trying to balance school and sports?
A: We have game days every Tuesday and Thursday and then sometimes on other days and that gets really tricky because we’re supposed to watch all of the younger kids, too, so we can’t do any homework or anything pretty much during the entire game, so then if a game goes until like 5 sets and you don’t get home until 10, you have all of your homework to squeeze in and your teachers, some of them are really understanding, but others don’t really get it.
Q: You play volleyball for Lakeville South and also for a club team. What differences do you notice between the two?
A: So high school…it’s a little bit different just because you have so many ages on your team so you have different skill levels with that whereas club it’s like everyone is pretty much in their same grade and you know them pretty well and the other thing is for high school it’s different seeing them all at school and having the same assignments and teachers and stuff, we can talk about that whereas with club it’s like everyone is coming from different schools so I have several people from North on my team, so you kinda have to set those rivalries aside and just play because otherwise, it doesn’t work.
Q: Do you have any top favorite memories from your volleyball career at South?
A: Well, I know like obviously beating North and Eagan. But umm…just being with the team is so awesome and oh, for volleyball we do like this retreat thing and everyone dresses up every year, and so my group this year we were the green team and we were avocados so we put our heads inside of green avocados so we would look like it…someone was Finding Nemo, like there was a bunch of funny stuff.
Q: What are some goals that you are working towards this season?
A: So obviously we want to go to state, which is a big one for us because we’ve only gone once and then our other big one is being conference champions. We tied for first last year but wanna get it on our own and right now we’re actually on track for that because beating north was a big goal for us and we have to do that to be conference champs so we’re feeling pretty good about where we are.
Q: What advice would you give to future Lakeville South student-athletes?
A: I think just enjoy it because it goes by so fast, like my freshman year, I didn’t think I would ever make it to senior year but now I wish I could, you know, turn back the clock and just be a little freshman again.
Q: Do you have any specific pre-game rituals or are you superstitious?
A: A little bit, so we have to like, we do pasta dinners and stuff before every game and if you don’t go to it, it’s like kinda a bad mojo and then we also have a team meeting before every game where we talk about our goals and whatever and afterward or before we blast music and all dance to it, so that’s something and if you don’t do it kinda just isn’t the same.
Q: Who is your favorite team to play against and why?
A: I mean, like, obviously North. I have to say North just because I pretty much know everyone on the team because I’ve played with most of them and like I mean we also get to say “Hey, I beat you” which is awesome!
Q: Is there any meaning behind your number, #3?
A: Well, okay, so I play libero, so there are only two numbers you can be for that, so it’s #1 and #3 but also pretty much all the liberos in the past have been #3, so I could’ve been #1 but I chose #3.
Q: Are you planning on playing in college? If so, where and what drew you to that school?
A: So I’m playing at the University of New Mexico. I’m kinda hoping for a little bit of an adventure. It’s a lot out of my comfort zone and I know it’s gonna be a lot different than Minnesota, obviously, but I feel really comfortable with the coach and the team and everything so I’m really excited to go there. And they have my major and they have a hospital connected to their college and I want to go into medicine so that helps.
Q: Was it a hard decision choosing to go to school so far away?
A: Yeah, it was really hard because I knew that I could go somewhere else but maybe not play volleyball but it would be closer where I could be close with my friends here, but might as well just go for it, like, I’m not gonna get another chance.
Q: Who inspires you most?
A: I mean, personally, I have to say previous teammates. There’s like three or four, in particular, so obviously Jenny Mosser, she was our outside, she was amazing and even though everyone knew she was the best one there, she never showed it, which is really important and then Halle Johnston, she was the libero before me and she mentored me a little bit and she was there my first year of varsity so I got comfortable with her and then my sister was also on the team. She was always so peppy and happy the whole time and so now I try to make it my goal even if I’m playing horrible or whatever, like always have a good attitude, that’s important.
Q: What will you miss most about Lakeville South volleyball?
A: Oh, gosh, so many things! Probably my teammates just because with high school, as I said, there’s a lot of different ages so I’m leaving a ton of my teammates that are still gonna be playing here and it’ll be fun to come back and watch them do whatever with the team that I left, but that’ll be a bummer to leave.
Q: What is the funniest thing that has ever happened at a practice or game?
A: If we get far enough in sections, we have practice over Halloween, so then we had someone come in a hot dog costume and she played in it the entire time and she couldn’t do anything so she was just like sliding across the floor in a hot dog outfit and it was just the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.
Q: How has your senior season compared to other years?
A: I feel like it’s a little different just because I’m more comfortable there and also the younger girls look up to you so you have to be a good role model for them and I’m also a captain on the team, so being able to make certain decisions and trying to be a leader on the court is very different than when I was a sophomore and junior on the team, I had people that were older than me so I knew my place and now I’m trying to be more outgoing with my team.