The Wolfpacker

January 2017

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 17 of 103

18 ■ THE WOLFPACKER TRACKING THE PACK NC State junior outside hitter Julia Brown is starting to rewrite the record books. Brown helped NC State go 20-12 overall and 13-7 in the ACC, plus 10-5 in home matches at renovated Reynolds Coliseum, under first-year head coach Linda Hamp- ton-Keith. Brown was re- warded by becoming the first NC State volleyball player selected first-team All-ACC since Stefani Eddins in 2005. NCSU's Megan Cyr (2012) and Margaret Salata (2011) were both All-ACC se- lections, but the league didn't break the squads down to first, second or third team. Brown led the Wolf- pack with 489 kills — which is the most kills in the rally-scoring era in school history and eighth-best overall — and she was second on the team with 327 digs. The 6-1 Brown recorded at least 10 kills in 27 of NC State's 32 matches, and had a career-best 31 against Syracuse. She was named ACC Player of the Week twice — Oct. 24 and Nov. 7. The former Cornelius (N.C.) Hough standout, who is majoring in business, picked NC State over Miami and Virginia. She recently took time with The Wolfpacker to talk about her breakout junior season. What are some of the reasons you think the team had improved success this past fall? "This year was amazing. We set our goals early that we really wanted to turn our play- ing around. We wanted to make the NCAA Tournament this year. "With that goal in mind, we all really committed to staying focused on our goal. Everyone was on board." How did the new coaching staff help you improve as an individual player? "They helped me so much and I've learned so much in the short time they've been here. We have a whole new system. We had worked all spring to get used to the system. "Just with the new coaching staff, we all bought in." What was your reaction to being named All-ACC? "I was very excited, and so excited for [senior setter] Maggie Speaks [who was named to the second team] as well. It's ex- citing for the program and I'm glad we are getting recognized for it." What was the adjustment in how you were used this year? "Last year, I was a three-rotation out- side hitter. This year, I started playing back row as well and playing defense. That was a new thing that I hadn't done be- fore. It was really exciting and I had a great time. "With playing all six ro- tations, I had to work on serve receive and defense as well. I just tried to focus on passing and the back- row players really helped me out a lot, like Rachel Eppley, our senior libero." Is there a certain mindset you have to have in order to get so many kills? "Just flying around the court, playing for your team and just doing what you love. It is about com- peting for every point each match." How was playing in a renovated Reyn- olds Coliseum? "Our home-court advantage was awe- some. We honestly had the best gym, and I'm biased, but the best gym in the ACC. It was so fun each game to play in this amaz- ing facility. "Everyone just came out, and I felt really lucky to play in a gym like that." How much do you think you have changed since high school? "With the experience that I've had play- ing such a high level of volleyball, it is just a lot faster paced game. Honestly, the big change was going to six rotations and play- ing back row. That was a big change for me. "Playing at a high level, it took a while to get adjusted to it." What led you to concentrate on vol- leyball? "I did play other sports, but there is just something about volleyball. I just love ev- erything about volleyball, though I love other sports as well. I just think it comes a little more naturally for me. "I had a lot of fun playing club volleyball in high school as well, and that helped me to decide to stick with the sport." Are you already thinking about what aspects of the game you want to improve on for next year? "Oh yes. We practiced the day after we didn't make the NCAA Tournament. We know that is what we are going to do next year. "We are moving forward and ready to get to work in the spring." What are your long-range goals? "I'm majoring in business administra- tion, but long term, to be honest, I have no idea. Hopefully, I'm going to play volleyball overseas if that works out after school. "That is pretty much my plan." Who inspires you? "Every member of my family. My dad and mom for sure. They've been so sup- portive for really my whole life. They've had a huge impact on my life and volleyball as well. "I don't know how I'd do any of this without them." — Jacey Zembal Getting To Know: Junior Volleyball Player Julia Brown Quick Questions What is your favorite restaurant in your hometown, Davidson, N.C.? The Soda Shop on Main Street. It sounds weird, but I get the kid's menu corn dogs. They are awesome, and I get the cookies-and- cream milk shake. Who would you like to see in concert? The Avett Brothers. I love seeing them in concert. What is your favorite class at NC State? I really love taking organic chemistry with my teammate Becky Porter. What has been your favorite match? It would be SMU this season. It was a five-set game and we really balled out. Last good movie you watched? I just watched "The Lizzie McGuire Movie" on Netflix and it was awesome. If you didn't play volleyball, what other sport would you like to try in college? I'd love to be on the dance team. I wish I could do that during my side time, but unfortunately, I don't think I'd make it. If it was a sport [offered at NC State], I did play lacrosse in high school and loved it. What NC State athlete do you enjoy watching compete? He graduated, but I really liked Nick Gwiazdowski in wrestling. Favorite road trip? My trip down to Florida, driving all the way non-stop with my teammate Kaitlyn Kearney for spring break. We went to Panama City Beach. What is a secret talent you have? I can do a back flip. What ACC arena do you enjoy playing at? Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center. It was awesome. Brown was named first-team All- ACC after posting a team-best 489 kills for the 20-12 Wolfpack. PHOTO BY LARRY BLANKENSHIP

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