Volleyball Profile - Katelyn Healy
Oct. 1, 2003
There's almost no question that Katelyn Healy is going to be on the court when the Oregon State volleyball team is in action. Where she'll be playing is another story. The versatile sophomore has played in 59 of OSU's 60 games so far this season, and she's played every position but setter for the Beavers this year. Healy has started 14 of 16 matches, but she hasn't started more than five matches at the same position. She's had five starts as a libero and middle blocker, and she's started four matches as a right side hitter.
Katelyn was named the team's Most Improved Player as a redshirt freshman last year, and she's continued to improve this season. In 50 games of action last season, she had seven aces and just 18 digs. In 59 games so far this season, she's had 125 digs, including 10 or more in seven matches. She's also more than doubled her ace total from a year ago, ranking third on the team with 16 aces this year - even more impressive considering she's not allowed to serve when playing as a libero.
She's also not allowed to block or attack the ball when she's in the libero spot, but she still ranks fourth on the team for blocks (23) and is fifth for kills (80). She's had 10 or more kills three times, including 10 in the team's win over Portland on Tuesday. She had a career-high 14 kills against Georgetown, and she had a career-high five blocks against Fresno State.
Katelyn, a walk-on, first found her way into the starting lineup midway through last season. As a redshirt freshman, she started the year off as a back-up outside hitter, playing in just 11 of the team's first 60 games. A middle blocker in high school, Katelyn started training at her former position when injuries left the Beavers with some holes in the lineup midway through the 2002 season. She eventually won the battle for the starting job and ended up starting 10 of the last 11 matches in the middle.
So, what does Katelyn think about her role as the team's most versatile athlete? What's a typical practice like for someone who's constantly moving around?
Find out the answers to those questions and more in this Question and Answer session with the Portland native.
Q- You're one of the most versatile athletes on this year's team. How comfortable are you with your role of not being a standout at any one spot but being talented enough to play successfully at whatever spot the team needs you on any given night?
A- I feel pretty good about it. I just want to be able to help out the team however I can, and as long as I'm on the court, I don't really care where I'm playing. I just want to be playing and helping my team in whatever way they need it.
Q- Not only have you played several different positions throughout the season, you've also changed positions mid-match a few times. In one of the matches at the Sacramento State Invitational, you played in the middle, on the right side and on the left side. What kind of mindset do you have to have to be able to change positions so many times and still maintain your competitive focus thoughout the match?
A- That match was particularly hard to get into a good groove for me, but you just have to play the game of volleyball. I feel like I know the game well enough that I feel like I can play any of those positions.
Q- What's a typical practice week like for someone who doesn't always know what position she's going to play? Where do you go when the team does individual position drills, when you're every position there is?
A- We have come across problems a couple times. In the beginning of the year, I took reps in all areas, so maybe one day I'd take left back reps and then the next day do middle back. Or sometimes, I would go in both groups, which got a little tiring, but I got the reps for all the positions. But I definitely did come across some problems. I felt like I wasn't getting into a groove and doing really well in any one position, just going through all of them. So lately, I've just been taking mostly right side reps - right front and right back - and then all the passing and digging reps for right back and left back, so I've cut my positions back a little.
Q- Would you rather be able to focus on one position and if so, which one?
A- It's definitely easier to focus on one position, but as far as which position, I don't really care. I really like them all. I think I'm most comfortable on the right side, but also comfortable in left back, so probably either one of those.
Q- Your versatility started showing last year. You started off the year as a backup outside hitter, but the next thing you know, you're in the starting lineup as a middle the last month of the season. What went through your mind when you first realized you were starting as a redshirt freshman - and in the middle, of all places?
A- At first, it was a little intimidating, being only 5-10 and playing against 6-4 middle blockers. But, I played middle all through high school, so my instincts just came back. I think it's a pretty natural position for me; I just didn't think I'd be playing it at this level. It was a surprise, but I liked it. And it felt good to do well against 6-4 middle blockers.
Q- You joined the Beavers as a walk-on. Did you have scholarship offers from other schools, or were you planning on going to Oregon State no matter what?
A- I did have scholarship offers, including the University of Portland. That's what it really came to - Portland or OSU. If I had gone to another school, I probably would have played right away and not redshirted. And even though it's hard to redshirt - everyone wants to play right away - I just felt like I would get better coming to a school where I would have a better opportunity to play with more experienced players and against the top teams in the nation. I felt like I would do better as a player.
Q- Let's switch the gears away from volleyball and talk about your recent haircut. You cut off over a foot of your hair and donated it to Locks of Love, an organization that provides wigs for children with cancer. What made you decide to do that?
A- I'd had long hair for probably three or four years. It was pretty long, and I needed it cut anyway. Instead of just getting a trim, I figured I'd help out some kids who need it, who don't have hair. I thought it would be fun, and it made me feel better about cutting it since I was doing something good for other people.
Q- It's been a couple months. Are you keeping it short or are you growing it out again?
A- I don't know. Sometimes I think I just want to grow it out again. I miss it long, but it's so much easier short. We'll see what happens.
Q- You're a business administration major. Any thoughts on what you'd like to do after you graduate?
A- I think I'm going to try to minor in merchandising management, I haven't declared it yet. I'd like to be a buyer for Nordstrom or another department store. But, I seem to change my mind all the time, so we'll see what I say next week.
Q- Since you say you change your mind every week, I can't imagine you wanted to be a buyer when you were five years old. What did you want to be when you 'grew up'?
A- I always wanted to be a veterinarian, because I love animals. I thought it would be the perfect job, but there were a lot of things I didn't realize at the time.
Q- Just a few other quick questions to close things out. What's the one TV show you have to watch every week?
A- Friends. Since we play on Thursday nights, though, we always have to find somebody to tape it for us.
Q- If you won the lottery, what would you do with the winnings?
A- Go on vacation, somewhere tropical. I'd probably save the rest for awhile. Actually, I'd probably go shopping too.
Q- What's in your CD player right now?
A- Gosh, it's definitely country. Oh, yeah, I know... it's Dierks Bentley.
Q- OK, one last question. If you could travel back in time, what one event would you like to witness?
A- I think it would have been really interesting to be able to listen to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 'I Have a Dream' speech.