Senior middle blocker Annie Kobeski reflects on her time at Campbell, what it means to be a leader on her team and what the secret is to putting up a good block.
Q: What made you decide to play volleyball at Campbell?
Kobeski: I started out at Palm Beach Community College, and you can only play two years there, so I was looking to continue my college playing career somewhere. Coach Mullins initially contacted me, and at first, I wasn't sure if I wanted to go out of state. My school was only 20 minutes away from home at the time, so I was nervous about that. But then I found out that a girl from a rival school was going to Campbell, Allyson Goldbach. When I came on my visit, everything was really nice. The girls were great and I liked the campus.
Q: What's your hometown like?
Kobeski: It's a very "beachy" scene, as simple as that sounds. Buies Creek is very country compared to Palm Beach. I really like it here though. I was born in South Carolina so it's kind of like a home roots thing for me I guess. The biggest difference is the weather.
Q: Did you play any sports besides volleyball growing up?
Kobeski: In middle school I played basketball for a year. At the time, I was really shy and I wasn't aggressive enough. If I played in high school it probably would have been different. I've played volleyball since the seventh grade, both in school and then travel in the offseason.
Q: If you could play any other sport besides volleyball, what would it be and why?
Kobeski: I think I'd like to play softball. I just think it would be fun to hit the ball. It's a completely different mindset, and I think it would be interesting.
Q: What position would you try to play?
Kobeski: I don't know. I think I'd want to be a catcher. It seems like it would compare to a setter in volleyball. You have to know everything that's going on, and you have to be able to communicate with your teammates. I just think it would be a lot of fun.
Q: What is the secret to putting up a solid block?
Kobeski: When you first start blocking, you think you just have to keep your eye on the ball, but really, it goes ball, hitter, ball. You have to see the ball, see where the hitter is coming in, see where they are swinging and then try to find the ball again. It's really tough, especially being a middle because you have to be able to go right or left. They can change their arm swing at any point, so you have to keep an eye on that.
Q: The grind of the season really starts to hit some teams this time of the year. What are some of the things you do to stay fresh?
Kobeski: Our coaches have really worked with us in giving us time off when we need it. Me, Lauren (Garza) and Kelsey (Campbell), the three captains, have communicated when we're tired. This past Monday we had a day off after having two away games last weekend. The biggest thing is to eat right and sleep. Sleep is the number one thing. It's hard to get enough, especially when you have so much school work, but sleep is very important.
Q: What does it mean to be a team captain this season?
Kobeski: I have to set an example. I have to be able to adjust in any situation and I have to be composed. You never know who's looking up to you and watching what you do. You have to lead by example. If you complain, they're going to complain. You're older and you're the captain. You don't always know that your teammates are looking up to you, but they are, and that's kind of cool.
Q: What do you hope to pass on to some of these younger girls coming up?
Kobeski: Play your hardest every game because you never know how many more you have left. If you give your hardest, you'll never have anything to regret.
Q: What's running through your head with Senior Day coming up?
Kobeski: This past weekend was tough. We went back and forth against the top team in the conference (Liberty), and all we had to do was finish in the fifth set, and we didn't. This weekend, I want us to practice the way we play. If we do that, I know we can do well. We just have to find that within ourselves. We know we can do it, we just have to learn to finish.
Q: What has been your fondest memory playing at Campbell?
Kobeski: It was actually recent, when we played at Gardner-Webb. We ended up going to five games. Both of our benches were going crazy. We were down in the fifth, and when we won, it made us realize that we can do anything as a team, as long as we stay composed and stay together. It was definitely a big deal.
Q: What is the best part about being a volleyball player at Campbell?
Kobeski: You get a lot of recognition, in a good way. At my old school, it was a community college and it was a commuter school, so people really didn't know if you were an athlete or not. So it was hard to get people to go to your games. It's such a different atmosphere here. It's such a community and it's so close knit. I like that a lot. I don't like to talk about myself a lot or draw attention to myself, but it's cool to know that people look up to you.
Q: The conference tournament is only a week away. What will you be focusing on to help your team do well in Charleston?
Kobeski: We need to focus on these two games this weekend. Then we need to have those clear of our heads on Monday. We need to practice like we're going to be successful, and focus on one game at a time.
Q: You're majoring in business administration here at Campbell. What is or has been your favorite class?
Kobeski: I really liked business law. My professor was really good at giving us examples that we can relate to and understand. He was really funny too. My favorite right now is business communication. It's about the proper ways that you have to talk to people, how to write emails, letters and memos. It's really interesting to learn those things.
Q: What are your aspirations after graduation?
Kobeski: I've explored going into coaching, pursuing a graduate assistant position next year. My old roommate at Palm Beach and I always talked about owning our own business. With the way things are looking with the economy right now, that might not work out at the moment though. I've also thought about going into teaching because I love kids.