Hometown: Latham, N.Y.
Majors: Biology and Russian
Sport: Women’s Volleyball
Campus Involvement: Woods is the President of the Garnet Society and is in Tri Delta sorority.
Notable: Woods was recently named the Liberty League Volleyball Performer of the Week.
Q: When did you start playing volleyball and what got you interested in it?
A: I started in eighth grade, but my school didn’t have a modified team so I played on the freshman team; then in ninth grade I moved up to varsity. I had a family friend who had always encouraged me to play and I thought it seemed fun and was exciting to watch. Also people always would say to me, “You’re tall, you should play volleyball!”
Q: How has the team’s culture changed with the new coaching staff?
A: Well, ever since my freshman year we have had a sort of Ubuntu culture, like ‘I am what I am because of who we all are.’ We have always been like a family and I think the new dynamic brought by the new coaching staff has made us even more successful. Our old team culture really aided in our transition with the new staff. Our coach has also brought a lot of confidence to our team through his past successes. For example, in my sophomore year we made it to the Liberty League finals but lost, and last year we made it to the semifinals, so we’ve always been in the running but he’s really helped us get over that final hurdle.
Q: What do you think are the team’s greatest strengths and weaknesses?
A: Our main strength is our team dynamic. We play really well together. Volleyball is a sport where you don’t really have ball-hogs since three separate people have to hit it. Our greatest weakness, although we are getting a lot better with it, is that we are a little hesitant to change. We’re really type-A but we’ve been improving a lot with that.
Q: In your four years on the team, what has been your greatest memory?
A: There have been so many, no one thing sticks out as paramount. It has always just been a really great group of girls, from the seniors when I was freshmen, to the freshmen now that I’m a senior. The girls on the team have been my best friends and it has just been a great experience.
Q: The team is currently on a winning streak. How do you guys keep up the momentum to maintain the streak?
A: We practice like we play. Practice is really competitive and that translates to success. Our team is pretty interchangeable and everyone is really competitive and eager to make each other better in practice. This has really increased our level of play. We are working a lot on our confidence, too, like going into games knowing we are better conditioned and more mentally tough. On average, we play four games a weekend so we’re exhausted by the end but we’re very mentally tough and are able to get it done tactically.
Q: What’s your favorite team to compete against?
A: Any team in the Liberty League because the league is so strong. Anytime we have a weekend playing Liberty League teams weird stuff happens because everyone really comes out to play. I guess, in particular, my favorite team to play against is Clarkson because they’re the only team we have beat yet. They’re a good, challenging team and they always put up a good fight.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about Union?
A: I like that it’s so small, it’s like a family. You can know a good amount of people, but are still able to meet new people, too. Also, professors know your name. It’s just a good environment, socially and academically.
Q: What’s your favorite restaurant in Schenectady?
A: This is tough because I’m from so close by. I guess Johnny’s since I love Italian food. I also really love Zen.