ATHLETE PROFILE: Jessica Brackin

So far this season, the Carnegie Mellon women’s volleyball team has recorded an overall record of 17–14, 4–3 in University Athletic Association (UAA) play. As the team prepares to enter the UAA championship tournament, The Tartan sat down with sophomore middle hitter Jessica Brackin to hear what she had to say about her success, the team’s success, and the upcoming championship tournament.

Tartan: When did you start playing volleyball and why?
Brackin: I started playing in seventh grade, just as something to do. I had always played softball, but then in middle school we started to have a volleyball team, and I started playing and didn’t know anything about it, but then ended up switching sports.

T: Was volleyball a part of your decision to come to Carnegie Mellon?
B: It was actually a huge part of my decision. I really wanted to play volleyball in college, and I also wanted to make sure I went to a good school, and Carnegie Mellon was just perfect for that. I also really loved our coach, my year was her first recruit class, and it was a team I wanted to be a part of.

T: How do you handle academics and athletics?
B: I handle my work so much better during the season. I have so much to do; staying busy keeps me from procrastinating. Having so many upperclassmen that have taken so many of the same classes is also such a big help. It’s like having a team of tutors.

T: Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?
B: I actually have a couple. We have a special team pre-game cheer, but it’s secret so I can’t actually say much else about it, and then I paint my nails before every game. I had just gotten this really crazy ridiculously bright nail polish one day, and did my nails, and everyone noticed so I always do it now.

T: Do you have a favorite place to play?
B: I love getting to play in New York. It’s a really fun trip, and we always get good competition when we’re there. But I think playing at home is probably my favorite; it’s really nice to play at home and have all the fans come out and watch us play.

T: Do you have a most memorable match?
B: The game we played this year against Washington (Mo.) University was amazing. We played them in New York, and we ended up losing, but we took them to a fifth game and it was really close, and it was such a fun match.

T: Do you have any personal goals for the rest of the season?
B: I actually don’t, we really play as a team. To maybe end the season hitting .300.

T: What kind of goals does the team have for the season?
B: We really want to see how far we can get in the UAA tournament. We normally finish fourth and we think this team can do so much better than that.