July 30, 2010
Emily Kvitle is entering her senior year with the Rebel volleyball team and is one of only two seniors on the squad. The setter is in a unique position when it comes to serving as the "quarterback" of the team and a "coach" on the floor in 2010. A consummate team player, the athlete from Quincy, Ill., has played almost every position in her career with the Rebels, spending time as a hitter, defensive specialist and a setter.
After agreeing to make the transition back to setter for the 2010 season, Kvitle has hit the ground running in the spring season and summer off-season working to prepare herself for the role of senior leader and setting the offense in the rugged Southeastern Conference as she hopes to lead the Rebels back to the NCAA Tournament.
Q: You're entering your senior season. Can you talk about your expectations heading into this final season?
EK: I'm really looking forward to this season. It's one of those things where you work so hard every single year. Each year you put in so much work and want it more and more and more. I know my teammates want it. You can see it in their eyes. They're going into the gym and we're all putting in the reps and the extra time so we can have that successful season that every senior wants.
Q: You've played almost every position in your time here at Ole Miss. How does that help you with being the setter this season?
EK: I feel like I can relate to what my hitters are telling me. Is the ball is too high, too low, or set too fast? I'm able to take that criticism and work on it. I can remember when I was in that position and the ball wasn't set where I wanted it and I can relate to it. Some of that feedback helps me work on it. I think I respect each position a little more. People think defense looks so easy or left side hitting is the easiest job, but I've been in their shoes and know how complicated each position really can be.
Q: Do you have a favorite position after having played several of them?
EK: I like a lot of things about each one. Right now, I'm trying to embrace my setter position. Before I would wonder if I would be staying at a position, but now it's set in stone. I like it and feel it fits me well. There is a lot of strategy in it and it's like being the quarterback of the team. You're running things.
Q: Having moved from position to position when the team needs it, how do you adjust so quickly to those new positions?
EK: Well so many players play the sport and one position from fourth or fifth grade to perfect their position. I had to learn at this point that it's not about perfection; it has to be about becoming as good as I can be as quickly as I can. At first it's frustrating because you want to be perfect. I strive for that. It was frustrating because in the beginning, it wasn't right. But that's what extra reps and experience gets you. You understand it won't always be perfect because volleyball is a game of errors and it's about who is able to limit their errors. If we play as a team, though, I believe we'll be successful.
Q: What made you pick volleyball?
EK: When I was in the seventh grade this lady grabbed me in junior high and said "You're tall. You're going to play volleyball." From then on I was just like "Ok, I'm playing volleyball." She was the coach of the junior high volleyball team. My sister got into it and she's a freshman at Saint Louis University. It's funny because my dad is really into golf and he wanted me to play golf. He kept telling me about how many scholarships were out there, so I thought I was going to play golf. But, I played volleyball. It's unfortunate that they compete in the same season.
Q: We brought in a top 20 recruiting class last season with a lot of talented and athletic freshmen. Of that class, who would you say you've seen the most change in from her freshman season?
EK: Definitely it's Allegra Wells. She's really filling into her role. Her confidence is through the roof. You want to look at your hitters and have them demand the ball. That is something that instills confidence in me. She really does that and just demands the ball. Who wouldn't want to set a player who demands the ball because she wants to put it down and get the point? She can't be stopped and it's really fun to watch.
Q: What's the best movie you've seen lately?
EK: Well Inception was good, but the movie I really enjoyed recently was the latest Twilight move, Eclipse. I know that sounds like a 12 year old, but it was a lot of fun.
Q: So are you Team Edward or Team Jacob?
EK: Oh, Team Jacob all the way. That's something we go back and forth about on the team all the time...Edward or Jacob? The only thing we probably go back and forth about more than that would be anything where it's the Texans versus the non-Texans. They're very prideful of their state and, of course, think anything that isn't Texan can't be as good.
Q: Do you have any hobbies or anything you enjoy doing outside of volleyball?
EK: You mean there's time to do something else? No, I actually enjoy painting. I don't really study painting or anything, but I like to paint whether it's something on a wall in my house or something like that. The great thing about painting is it's relaxing to me, and if you make a mistake you don't have to worry about it....you just paint over it.
Q: Do you cook or anything?
EK: I actually do. That's something we actually enjoy doing as a team. We'll have dinners and we actually paint together. If we have a day where we just really need to get away from volleyball and not talk volleyball, then we get together and we cook or we'll have a night where each person is in charge of something different like a salad and bread and stuff. But we'll get together and we'll paint a wall, or we'll paint picture frames. You can go to Wal-Mart and actually buy a canvas, and sometimes we'll do that just as a way to get away from the sport and have fun with each other.
Q: Is there a particular book you are reading right now?
EK: Besides my microbiology textbook? Believe it or not, I find that fascinating. Now that the class is over, I can focus on some fun stuff. Right now I'm reading a book called Captivating. It's a book about faith and women in faith. I really enjoy it. It tells you what you need to do and opens up your eyes to why you are the way you are. I also just bought Eat, Pray, Love. The movie is coming out soon and I like to read books before I see the movie. I haven't started that one, but I'm excited about it.
Q: You mentioned microbiology. What's your favorite class here or was that it?
EK: I really enjoyed it. It's exciting considering the profession I want to go in with nursing. It deals with diseases and stuff like that, which I find really interesting. The professor did a good job of making it fun. You go into lab and do things. It's not a class of straight lecture. You can go in and apply what you learn to daily life.
Q: If you were told you could only go watch one sport on campus, which sport would it be?
EK: Tennis. Definitely it would be tennis. I think it's awesome to watch. It's similar to volleyball in that you have to be athletic and smart about where you place the ball. There is a lot of thinking and strategy. I like watching the teamwork of doubles. They know where they're going and feel where their partner is going. It's intense. It's such a quiet atmosphere and then people just erupt.
Q: Have you ever played tennis?
EK: *laughs* In the spring we went and watched tennis, and I know some of the girls were like "that doesn't look too hard, I feel like we can do this." So we got out there and tried to hit the serves just like them. I'm sure it's just like volleyball and people watch and think "that doesn't look too hard." But wow, it was so much harder than it looks. But we were out there having fun. It's nice to go play different sports and try different things and be active.
Q: If you had two minutes to speak to the Ole Miss fan base, what would you say?
EK: Come out and give us a chance. Let us have the opportunity to prove to you that even though we're a different sport, we can be just as exciting as a football or baseball game. We work hard all year round. We love the support from our fans and it gets us ready to play. It provides an atmosphere that makes it tough to play here. Teams like Florida and Kentucky don't like to play here at Gillom because of our fan base and how loud and difficult they can make it for other teams to play here. I would say just come out and give us a chance to win you over.