Volleyball Profile - Amanda Eggert

Oct. 16, 2003

Junior middle blocker Amanda Eggert has started every match for the Beavers this year, and her offensive numbers are a big reason why Oregon State is 12-7 heading into key matches at Arizona and Arizona State this weekend. Eggert has come on strong this year, her first as a full-time starter. Heading into the Arizona trip, Eggert had 191 kills (2.77 kpg), more than the 128 she had in her first two years combined. She's had 10 or more kills in 11 matches this season, after having just one prior to this year.

But it's just not the increase in numbers that has Eggert turning heads. It's also the increase in efficiency. The Portland native is second on the team with a .321 hitting percentage, most recently hitting .552 with 17 kills against No. 13 Washington last week. Eggert, who entered her junior year as a career .252 hitter, has improved her career hitting percentage to .292 (currently the fifth-best career mark in OSU history) with this year's success.

Eggert sat down before a recent practice to talk about her turnaround this season as well as her political science major and some of her activities off the court. Here's what she had to say:

Q- You're coming off a great match against No. 13 Washington last week, hitting .552 with 17 kills - just one shy of your career-high. You've had some other impressive matches this season, but not against a team as highly ranked as Washington. Would you say that was the best match you've ever played? How'd you get in such a groove for that match?

A- Yeah, I think it probably was the best match I've played. Basically, I just felt that every time I got set, I knew what was open, I knew where I wanted to go and it just went down. In my mind, by the fourth game, I realized I hadn't really made any errors either. In the back of my mind, I was thinking, 'What is going on?' It was really fun, but I can't do it alone. It takes a great pass and a great set. Larz (setter Laura Collins) knows when I'm going to have one (option) or when there's going to be a seam in the block. It's really a team effort that sets it up getting a kill, so I can't even claim it as just being all me. It's so much more that goes into it.

Q- Your offensive game has improved a lot this year. You hit just .224 as a sophomore last year, but you're hitting .321 this year. What's been the difference?

A- I think seeing the opponent's block and just logging the things that are working. When I get dug, I think, 'OK, she's on the line, she's ready for that. Try something else.' As a younger player, that's something you have to develop, just knowing in your mind what they've dug, what was hard for them, and learning to see the block and see what's open. Some hitters, and I do this too sometimes, just go up and swing and kind of just hope it works out. A lot of it is strategy and having a scouting report and knowing what the coaches want you to do and executing that. Every year, you just get a little better at things.

Q- What pumps you up more - getting a big block or crushing a kill to the ground?

A- I think I'd have to say getting a big block. There's just something about when your hands are so far over the net and the opponent swings as hard as they can and you just absolutely roof them. That's pretty fun to do. Getting a big kill is awesome too, but for some reason a block just gets me a little more fired up because it doesn't happen as often. Getting a really big block is fun.

Q- You come from a pretty athletic family. How much of an influence was your family on your involvement in sports?

A- The thing that my parents did such a good job of was letting it be my choice, letting it be my decision to pursue athletics, and then just supporting me incredibly. They would be there every single match, whether I was on the bench, whether I was a star or whatever. That just means so much and was so important. I always knew that it was my decision. They never forced me to do anything, but they always encouraged me to pursue the things they knew I was good at. That was so crucial to why I never got burnt out or why it was never frustrating. They were right behind me, just cheering me along the whole time. My dad was a great athlete, but he never got a chance to play in college and so for him, I know he's really proud of me. The other thing they always stressed is that I was never allowed to quit in the middle of something. No matter how badly I didn't like something, I always had to finish it. You committed to this, and you're going to stick with it.

Q- You went to Mexico during spring break of 2002, but it wasn't a typical spring break trip to the beach. You volunteered at an orphanage. How did you get involved in that and what was the experience like?

A- I heard about it from my mom. One of the teachers at her elementary school goes every year and volunteers his skills as a carpenter. When I heard about it, my heart just started beating faster. I wanted to go so bad, and it worked out with my schedule. We don't have anything over spring break. That's a time when we're not supposed to work out, so it wasn't like I had to try fitting in any workouts. I love Mexico so much. I'd gotten to spend time there previously. It's a Christian orphanage, and I fell in love with those kids. Whether I was out there shoveling concrete or holding one of the orphans, it was incredible. It was one of the best weeks of my life. When I left, I cried the whole way home. K.C. (Frederic) was with me and she just kept looking over at me, but it was so hard for me to leave because in such a short time, I found something that grabbed my heart.

Q- You've said you'd like to return to Mexico again. You still have another year of volleyball left, but have you given any thoughts to what you'd like to do after you graduate?

A- It's exciting to think about a new chapter of my life because I've been here for awhile. On the other hand, sometimes I try not to think about it because I want to stay focused on the moment and what I'm doing now because there is so much going on. I really don't have a lot of time to sit and daydream and plan about my future, but it's exciting to think about just getting to go to another country and be a missionary or work at an orphanage. That's been a lifelong dream. Even when I was little, I always wanted to go to other places. Then when I became a Christian, I don't know, something in me just said, 'This is where I belong.'

Q- You're a political science major. What were your thoughts on the recent California recall and Arnold Schwarzenegger getting elected as governor?

A- We definitely talked about that in class. What I know about elections and the strategies that politicians use and the things that are most important to getting elected ... a lot of that is name recognition and that's something that Arnold definitely had going for him. If you're a nobody candidate, your main strategy is just to get your name out there so people know who are. For him, everyone knows who he is. And on top of already having that name recognition, he could have a well-financed campaign and afford to get the best political minds working with him. He can afford to have the ads on TV or in the newspaper. There's no real limit in that. I don't know what the statistics were for how much was personally funded by him, but he can be free to really hear what the people want. Sometimes, if you get support from these huge corporations, it's more like you're kind of indebted to them to vote a certain way or pursue certain legislation. If he has financed most of his campaign, then he's going to be free - if he chooses - to really just listen to what the people and do the best that he can.

Q- What would you like to do with your political science degree?

A- International relations. I could live in another country and be an ambassador and work in the embassies that are located in other countries. And being able to speak Spanish, I could provide a voice between countries. That's something I've definitely thought about as an opportunity to do what interests me, which is helping other people and working in other countries and incorporating what I've learned here about international relations and government.

Q- What's the last movie you saw?

A- Memphis Belle.

Q- What's the one thing you'll never be caught eating?

A- I had a pretty weird soup when I was in Mexico. It was some kind of cow stomach soup. You know, I will probably never eat that ever again.

Q- You've been at home for the past two weeks, but you've got a road trip to Arizona this week. What's the one thing you always make sure you pack for a road trip?

A- My Bible and my journal. Those always go with me.

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