Q&A WITH VOLLEYBALL'S JANELLE CURREY - GETTING IT DONE ON AND OFF THE COURT
With summer camp winding down and the season just three days away, the Sacramento State media relations office had a chance to catch up with fourth-year senior outside hitter Janelle Currey. In her third straight season as a team captain, Currey enters her final year with Sacramento State. The Rocklin native has already accumulated 1,080 career kills and 1,305 digs, becoming just the fourth player in school history to reach the 1,000 kill/1,000 dig plateau prior to her senior season. Not only does Currey prosper on the court, she also excels in the classroom where she currently has a 4.0 grade point average as a mathematics major.
Q: When making your decision to attend Sacramento State, what were some of the main reasons for your choice?
A: The two main considerations in my decision were volleyball and academics. As far as volleyball goes, I attended Sacramento State volleyball camp every summer beginning at age 12. I watched some of the great Sac State players - Sandra Bandimere, Kristin Lutes and Lindsay Haupt to name a few. As a young player, these were some of my heroes. I loved watching Hornet volleyball. I was there many years when Sacramento State demolished UC Davis. I was there in 2006 when the team swept 25th-ranked Long Beach State. I made the trip to Stanford many years to root for Sac State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, including the year they beat Minnesota (2007) to advance to the second round. When I was given the opportunity to play here, it was not a difficult choice. I already felt attached to the program and comfortable with (head coach) Ruben Volta as a coach from all the years of camp.
Academically, I met with a professor on one of my recruiting visits who convinced me of the great quality of education I would receive here. The professor explained to me the close interaction that students have with their professors and how much the professors get to know and care about their students. I have found this to be completely true. I have enjoyed my academic experience, especially getting to know my professors and discovering how much they truly love what they do.
Q: How has training camp been going so far? Has anyone stood out in particular?
A: It has been going pretty well. Its always fun to get back in the gym and play together again. We have been working hard in practice and look forward to competing in our first tournament later this week. As double days started, I was encouraged by the health of the team. We have been plagued by some injuries the last few seasons and it is great to have mostly healthy bodies back in the gym. I was especially excited to see that (rightside hitter) Kayla Beal recovered well from her knee surgery and was ready to go at the start of camp.
Q: You have started all 96 matches Sacramento State has played over the last three years at outside hitter. What are a couple of the matches that have really stood out in your mind?
A: There are many matches that have left a lasting impression. One of the matches I enjoyed most was my sophomore year when we beat UC Davis on their home floor. This match was special because of the great determination we demonstrated to pull out the win in five sets. Plus, its always nice to beat Davis. Another special win came my sophomore year at home against conference rival Portland State. This was another intense five game match in which we battled to the very last point. The favorite match of my career was last season against Northern Colorado. After some difficulty at the beginning of our season and previous struggles against this team in the past, we were especially fired up for this match. The team pulled together and we played some of our best volleyball of the season to defeat Northern Colorado handily in three sets. This was the beginning of a streak of domination at home that I will always remember (four straight home sweeps over conference competition).
Q: You currently have a 4.0 grade point average as a mathematics major. That is a rare accomplishment for a student-athlete because of all the time restraints you face. How are you able to juggle academics and athletics, and remain successful in both areas?
A: As an athlete, you work hard every day in practice and in games because you are playing a sport that you love. It is the same for me with school. I love school. There are many time restraints due to volleyball, especially with all of the travel during the season, but school is a priority for me so I make time for it. You can ask my teammates and they will tell you that I’m always doing homework on the road. You can ask my roommates and they will tell you that I’m always the last to go to bed because I am studying. Just like anything in life, you make time for the things that are important to you. For me, school is one of those things.
Q: We’ve heard that March 14 is one of your favorite days of the year. Can you explain to us why, and some of the things you do on that date?
A: Yes, its my favorite day! It is the one day of the year when math nerds get to be as crazy as they want and other people actually appreciate it. March 14th is known as Pi Day because the date is 3/14, which represents 3.14, the rough estimation of everyone’s favorite irrational number, pi. Pi is the constant ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter and shows up all over the beautiful world of mathematics. As a math nerd, I love this day because I can share the joy of math with everyone. This joy is mostly spread to others in the form of pie, which is the most appreciated Pi Day tradition. Other Pi Day traditions include wearing your favorite math shirt, telling math jokes, and reciting digits of pi. I am looking forward to celebrating Pi Day in 2015 when the date will be 3/14/15, which gives us even more decimals of pi, 3.1415.
Q: You are always one of the most competitive and hardest working players on the floor. Where does that strong work ethic come from?
A: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” Colossians 3:23. I work hard at whatever I do, and at this point in my life, that’s volleyball.
Q: You are one of just four players in school history to reach the 1,000 kills/1,000 digs plateau prior to her senior season, you set the Sacramento State freshman record for most kills and digs in a season in 2009, and you have been named Big Sky all-academic every year. Do you take pride in all these accolades?
A: Its an honor, but I really just want to do my best to help the team win. The more that I can help, the more successful we will be.
Q: What does it mean for you to be a team captain for the third consecutive season?
A: I am very thankful that I have been given the opportunity to play a leadership role on the team for so many years. I am glad that my hard work has earned Ruben’s trust and I hope that I have been able to encourage my teammates to work just as hard through my example.
Q: You are in serve receive during every rotation on the floor. Do you enjoy the added pressure that comes with serve receive?
A: Its not really something that I think about. As an outside hitter, I have been a primary passer for all of my career. I enjoy serve receive because it is the first opportunity you have to set your team up for success on each play.
Q: What is your favorite aspect of the game of volleyball?
A: Defense. Its the part of the game in which hard work pays off the most. Commitment to defense is a long-standing tradition at Sacramento State and it allows us to compete with a lot of teams that are more physical than we are. Every ball we dig is a kill that’s taken away from the other team. This wears teams down both mentally and physically, and is critical to our success.
Q: What are some of your personal and team goals for the season?
A: As a team, we strive to win the Big Sky championship every year. This season is no different. We are working hard every day in practice to accomplish this goal. My personal goal is to work hard and do whatever I can to help the team succeed. I am prepared to do whatever it takes to win.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A: I plan on enrolling in a graduate program next fall to pursue a PhD in mathematics. After that, I plan to teach math at the collegiate level. I have been greatly impacted by many teachers, and hope to impact future students in a similar way.