Volleyball setter Kelly Johnson ’16 was named to the Yale Invitational all-Tournament team after her performance in matches against Minnesota, Albany and Boston College. She was among the team leaders in kills, assists, digs and blocks. The News sat down with Johnson to discuss the setter’s reflections from the weekend and the Bulldogs’ goals for the season.
Q. How would you describe your performance over the weekend?
A. I thought it was a solid weekend, but there is always room for improvement. As a team, I think we had moments where we realized our potential for how good we can be, but we still have a lot of hard work ahead of us.
Q. What’s it like being one of the older players on the team this year, as a junior?
A. It’s crazy to think that I am already a junior; the past two seasons have gone by in a flash. With that in mind, I’ve realized how grateful I am to be a part of such an unbelievable program with a group of girls that are my best friends.
Q. What’s your pre-game ritual?
A. We always have a dance party with the same playlist of songs. It’s so much fun and always pumps us up for the game. But besides that, I always drink an iced coffee before each home match; my addiction to Starbucks is probably not healthy.
Q. What are your personal goals for practice and games for this season?
A. For practice I just try to block out whatever else might be going on in my life and use that time to get better. Practices are great because I can forget about the stress from school or anything else and play the sport I love with people I love for a few hours every day. For games, I want our team to be able to learn from our performance each time we step on the court and use that to improve for the next match.
Q.You’ve received honors within the Ivy League since your freshman year, including Rookie of the Year, Player of the Week twice and first-team all-Ivy twice. Recently, you were selected to the all-Tournament team at the Yale Invitational. Do these honors motivate you or distract you on the court?
A. I am beyond grateful to have received those honors, but none of them would have been possible without my teammates. We compete every day and push each other to become better.
Q. You said you were excited to see Kelsey Crawford ’18, the other setter, become a leader throughout her Yale career. From a setter’s perspective, what have you seen from her so far?
A. Kelsey played awesome this weekend. I love her presence on the court. She is vocal, supportive and makes smart decisions. This weekend, she demonstrated her leadership skills that are crucial in being a great setter.
Q. Could you tell me a bit about the Yale-Harvard rivalry in volleyball, specifically? Is the team pumped to battle Harvard this season?
A. Absolutely. We are always pumped to play Harvard. They have a great program, and every year the games between us are a battle and insanely competitive.