Cat Commits to Pitt!
Date Posted: 11/7/2018
Q: Congratulations on your decision to play at Pitt! Can you tell us about your recruiting process to provide some insight for our younger players?
A: Thank you! I am so, so excited to play for such a competitive program! My recruiting process really started during Spring of my sophomore year. I started by making a list of about 25 schools I was interested in. Then I narrowed the list by certain criteria that I was looking for, like great academics, a campus atmosphere, medium to large sized, not midwest -- and a fun sports culture. I initially sent out about 20 emails based on those criteria. I learned that it’s super important to be thorough in those e-mails, and to include all of your personal information -- like positions played, your height, jump touch, standing reach, GPA – and a solid highlight video, because that helps schools decide whether you’re a good fit for them right from the beginning.
At the beginning, you may hear back from some schools right away -- or hear nothing at all. It can be cdiscouraging at first, because coaches don’t always respond right away, but it’s fun when you start to see results. The most frustrating thing about the beginning of your process is that coaches are not able to contact you directly; it’s on you to be proactive and initiate contact. For me, the process really took off after AAU’s. I sent out new emails with highlight videos to my top schools right before AAU’s, and that gave them all the chance to come see me play. This seemed nerve racking at first, but honestly it inspired me to play my best, and was really exciting. AAU’s also gave me exposure to schools I hadn’t considered, that I ended up being really interested in when they contacted me.
I knew I really wanted an ACC school, but I never contacted Pitt. They contacted me after seeing me play. I never imagined myself ending up there, but I kept an open mind and I’m glad I did. I learned that going to the camps is crucial; you get to meet most of the team, and most importantly the coaches, and experience the atmosphere of the program. The first camp I went to was one of my top schools – but when I got into their gym I knew right away it wasn’t the right place for me. Pitt invited me to camp 3 days before I went, and from the first step I took on the campus, I knew it was where I wanted to be for my college career. It felt like my home away from home.
Q: How has Wildcat Jrs. prepared or helped you through the college recruiting process?
A: The Wildcats recruiting process was awesome. When I said I wanted to be recruited, they started right away in helping me with emails and really getting my name out to coaches. Kirstine Jensen was super helpful at first with comments to my emails and video, and helping me understand the process. Once I got down to a solid list last summer, Cassie Rose took lots of time helping me prepare for calls with coaches. She also would call coaches to see where I was on their list, and to tell them my story. I know that made a huge difference for me. All of my Wildcats coaches have really supported me, but I would definitely like to especially credit three coaches, Cassie Petovsky and Craig Boller, and Evelyn Kim. They really made me the player I am now by helping me transition from Middle to Outside, and building my confidence. They made me realize that I was serious about playing in college. They pushed me to the max and really made me the best player I could be.
Q. Is there any advice you would give our younger Wildcat Jrs. players that want to pursue playing volleyball in college?
A: Be coachable. That means listening to your coaches, and letting them mentor you. Even if they are extremely hard on you, you need to keep a positive mindset and realize that they are only doing that to build your discipline and help you be the best player you can be.
Be resilient, and be a good teammate. Being the best player isn’t the only thing coaches are looking for. Some are looking for players who bounce back from errors almost as much as talent. And they all are looking for players who support the whole team.
Be patient. It starts very slow. It seems like you are really going nowhere for a little while, but once you get responses from a couple coaches, it can get super exciting. Recruiting definitely does take a lot of time and effort.
Don’t get discouraged. It is definitely heartbreaking to hear that your DREAM school does not have a spot for you in their program, or that you’re not on their list, but that just leads you closer to your real college home.
Never close doors, always be open. Talk with coaches, even if you think that you might not want to go to that school. Having more options helps you figure out what you want – which might not be what you thought.
Go to college camps. It’s really important for the coaches to see you play live. Also, you get to see how they coach, and they get to see how coachable you are. Going to camp was what made Pitt want me and me want them.
Stay positive – and have fun! That is my number one suggestion. It is so frustrating sometimes, but it’s also a really exciting process that pays off in the end if you have fun with it.