Aug. 14, 2007
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - In preparation for the 2007 Purdue volleyball season, purduesports.com sat down with three of this year's incoming freshmen. After their first week of practice, the new faces are starting to feel more comfortable in their new surroundings. And while it's still too early to make predictions, it's easy to tell these ladies will be ready when their number is called.
Kristen Arthurs (Newport, Mich.), a 6-3 middle hitter, arrives as Michigan's reigning Gatorade Player of Year. Jordan Fullove (Fort Wayne, Ind.), a 5-7 defensive specialist, brings a lot of volleyball experience to an already experienced club. Blair Bashen (Houston, Texas) is an all-around threat who doesn't let her 5-10 frame limit her ability at any position on the court. Learn more about these three players in the group interview that follows.
You've been on campus and away from home for about a week now. How has the transition been?
JF: I think the first few days were kind of hard, because you are still adjusting and getting used to the fact that you're away from home and away from your family. After a while, though, everything flies by. It's getting easier.
KA: I think they keep us busy enough that we're moving all the time. You don't have a lot of time to sit around and think about how you're not hanging out with your friends or your family. It hasn't been too bad.
BB: It's been really easy for me. No trouble at all.
Has anyone in particular helped you since you've gotten here?
BB: Ryan (Freeburg) has helped my passing a lot. When I got here, I wasn't much of a passer. I've improved a lot because of him.
JF: I still have family here. My uncles are the coaches, so they've helped me a lot. They can tell if I'm upset about something. My aunts and cousins are always around, too. That makes it easier on me.
What do expect this season now that you're playing for your uncles?
JF: Well, it will definitely be different. They've always been around and we've always been a close family. But, I've never been their player and they've never been my coaches. So it should be different, but it's been pretty nice so far.
Now that you've had some time working with your specific positions, what do you need to work on to keep up with your new teammates?
KA: I need to get a lot faster and adjust to the speed of the game. I need to see what's going on and react quicker. It's going to be an important step for me.
BB: I'm playing almost every position right now. I come in early with the middles and work out with them. I go to passing practice, too. It's tough to keep up with the taller middles because I'm short.
JF: I need to get used to the speed of the game. If someone hits at you, you have to always be ready. Your lateral movement has to be very quick, too.
Coach Shondell has talked a lot about your experience, Jordan. What do you feel makes you unique?
JF: I feel like my training is very important to my game. Ever since I've been young, I've always had a high level of training. I've always had a lot of competitiveness, too. I feel like that could be a great asset to the team.
What about you, Kristen? Coach said that you're a really intelligent and tough player.
KA: I haven't had as much training, but I do have really high expectations for myself. I know that I'm really going to push myself to get the most out of my ability.
Blair, Coach Shondell said that you're very athletic and you can really jump.
BB: I'll bring a lot of athleticism, but I haven't played much volleyball. I've always been more of a basketball player, so my athletic ability has always been important. I'll make sure the team keeps laughing and I'll try to be a real competitor out there, though.
What feelings do you have about your first tournament coming up?
JF: I'm so excited. I know that we just have to push through these two-a-days and then the reward comes afterwards. I'm so anxious for our first match.
BB: I can't wait to hear the crowd. I can't wait to get out there and play in some matches.
KA: It's crazy to think about it right now. We've been thinking about it for so long and now it's actually coming up in two weeks. I think once we step on the court, it's just going to be so exciting.