(Photo: Trey Lanthier/WCSN)
Bianca Arellano transferred from University of Tennessee, where, as a true freshman, ranked second on her team in assists. The setter, a local product from Xavier College Prep high school, shocked many when she beat out sophomore Allison Palmer for the starting job. Through six matches, 5’8” Arellano ranks seventh in the nation with 12.11 assists per set.
Q. What was the biggest adjustment coming from Tennessee to ASU?
A. It was a pretty easy transition. I’m from Phoenix, so when I came in the spring it was hard because I had never been through a spring season before. It’s much different from fall. I mean, you’re not as busy, you have to adjust your time managing school wise. ASU really provided a lot for me, like we had our study hall that we had to go to as a freshman, and we practice a lot more so we lift in the morning, go to class, have practice, so it was an easy adjustment for the most part.
Q. What was it like coming back home (to Phoenix) and being able to play where you grew up?
A. It was definitely really welcoming. I mean, I knew a couple girls on the team. I played Stephanie (Preach) in high school, I played with Macey (Gardner) for club, and Jenny (Teslevich) and even Andi Lowrance, but it was really welcoming. I was really comfortable with the team. They were super nice, and it was a good transition.
Q. How has your time on Club Red with (ASU head coach) Jason Watson and playing with Macey helped the transition?
A. So I already knew a little bit of the offense that Jason (Watson) liked to run and the offense they have established at ASU. It was easy for me to come in and set and feel comfortable, do what I like to do: spreading the offense or keeping it evenly distributed. So it was nice to be back with Jason for sure. I’m really comfortable with him, and Macey is always fun to play with, so it was good.
Q. Being a transfer, especially as a setter, what were the challenges you had at first being a new player on the team?
A. Well, obviously connecting with my hitters. I mean, from Tennessee, I went from a totally different offense, totally different types of girls, types of athletes, so connecting with my middles here where it is a lot quicker sets than when I was at Tennessee. It was a little bit difficult in the beginning, but it’s all reps, reps, reps. So, I would come in early. Come in, set off the passers, and try to connect more with my middles especially, and once I got dialed in, it was good to run the offense.
Q. What are your expectations for this team after a 6-0 start?
A. My expectation is just to keep winning, keep getting better. There’s always room for improvement, like Jason (Watson) says all the time, “There’s always work to be done.” So, we just really need to improve. Our game can always be better but keep the wins going. We’re undefeated so far, haven’t won anything big yet, but we just gotta keep positivity and keep working together as a team.
Q. What are your personal goals for the season?
A. Really, I just want to make my teammates better around me. Keep the offense flowing during the game, keep the energy during the game on and off the court. I don’t know, just keep my game improving all-around, not just setting. Everything.
You can reach Zac Pacleb on Twitter @ZacPacleb or via email at email@example.com