June 15, 2010
EVANSTON, Ill. -- After a breakout season in 2009 which saw Sabel Moffett (Temecula, Calif./Chapparal) garner All-Big Ten accolades, the middle blocker earned even more recognition in the offseason, being named one of the 24 players selected to the 2010 U.S. Women's National A2 Team.
Moffett recently returned from a week-long training and tournament trip in Phoenix, Ariz., where she was a member of the USA A2 Red team, which won the bronze medal at the USA Volleyball National Open Championships on June 1. Moffett recently sat down with NUsports.com to give a little insight as to her experience competing with the top collegiate volleyball players in the country.
NUsports.com: What was a typical day like during the training portion of the trip?
Moffett: "It was pretty intense. We had a team meeting Monday (May 24) with the coaches, going over the goals and expectations for the week, which was immediately followed by a practice. Then for the next five days, it was nothing but double-day practices. We had breakfast at seven, then were on the court at eight until noon and then again from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. At first it was just playing with each other and getting a feel for one another, and then on the third day they split us in to our squads and we prepared for the tournament that weekend. So it was a lot of volleyball, but it was a good experience."
NUsports.com: What were the feelings when you actually got to step out on the court to compete?
Moffett: "It was awesome. We had a really good team and did really well during the pool-play portion of the tournament. We ended up losing in the semifinals, which was a tough loss, so we had to settle for third. We felt we should have been in the finals playing, so we were disappointed by that. But it was neat to see some of the other teams that came in for the tournament and where you stacked up in comparison."
What was the emphasis during practices? Was it on fundamentals or preparing for certain situations?
Moffett: "It was everything. We basically started from the ground up, so it was a lot of passing, setting, serving, things like that. They taught me a new serve, which I'm hoping to implement next year. The biggest challenge was just adapting to (the coaches') styles and living up to how they expected you to play. It wasn't anything drastically different, but a few little technique things here and there to get used to. Then the last part of the week was basically just getting the gameplan together for the tournament."
NUsports.com: How do you think this experience will benefit you once the season gets underway in August?
Moffett: "I'm really excited for my final season at Northwestern. The competition and the practices were intense, so being able to see that and also get that feel of playing in a big situation, its hard to get that in spring ball. The level of play was so high that it got me excited and eager to get our season started and get back out there. Plus I feel like there was a little bit of unfinished business on my end. Getting the third-place medal felt to me very similar to not making the NCAA tournament. It was good, but I don't want that feeling again."
NUsports.com: How did it feel to look around and realize that by being there, you've gained a reputation as one of the top volleyball players in the country?
Moffett: "It was something that was in the back of my mind. But the biggest focus for me, being I want to continue to play volleyball after college, was just to see what I was competing against. The other middles on the team were all literally six inches to a foot taller than I was, so it made me realize that if I want to be the best, that is where my competition lies. During the season you only see a handful of opposing players up close, but there are so many volleyball players out there that want the same things that I do. So this gave me the chance to see what my competition was and what I need to do if I want to move forward with my volleyball career."
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