McKenzie “Kizzy” Willey is an incoming freshman this year for ASU volleyball and she is a 6-foot-1 opposite hitter. She played at Lone Peak High School in Highland, Utah. Trey Lanthier got a chance to talk with Kizzy and grab an exclusive interview.
Q. In retrospect, what do you think of your decision to graduate early and come to ASU in the spring?
A. I would recommend it to any incoming freshman. I felt like it gave me such a head start, not only in athletic training with the team, getting that chemistry, being in the gym, but also academically, and just starting to acclimate to the college scene. It’s so different from high school. You have to deal with the huge change in the athleticism, but also in the time management and your academics, and managing your social life, handling being away from home. I feel like it was a great decision for me, and BreElle [Bailey] as well, to graduate early and get here, and just be ready for this season. As of now, honestly, I think we’d be pretty nervous right now coming in, right out of the gates. I think we’ve gotten our feet wet, and we’re ready for the season. We’re not nervous, we’re just anxious. We want to play now.
Q. How would you compare high school volleyball to college volleyball?
A. It’s night and day. I knew that it was a powerful game, and it’s a lot faster. The tempo here is incredibly fast. It took us, me and BreElle [Bailey], about a week or two to keep up with these guys, but I think we’re well on our way now. But it’s a whole different speed, different caliber girls. People don’t realize how powerful these college athletes are, and how hard they will all work. Coming in and seeing these girls, like Stephanie Preach and Macey Gardner, and others that give examples to incoming freshman for how hard they work. They’re constantly giving it their all. It’s a huge difference from high school. They actually want to be here. In high school, the girls are sometimes just doing it for a holiday. But here, it’s real.
Q. What do you feel about the team as an emotional unit?
A. It’s indescribable. You keep hearing the cliché of a team being a sisterhood, but honestly, these girls, we are a family. It goes way beyond just the court. Some of us live together, near each other, and we’re always checking up on each other, seeing if we need anything. It’s a family unit. I haven’t been homesick at all. I haven’t been alone once. They’re so supportive, and they’re there for anything I need help with. Q. Can this team meet the high expectations for the 2013 season?
A. Absolutely. Not only is the skill there, but there’s heart. We have so much heart, and so much fire. This team is a sisterhood, we all have one goal, one desire, one heartbeat. We’re all going through the same thing every single day. We have the same goals. We all accomplish those things together, and I think we can go really far in the tournament this year.
Q. Where did your nickname (“Kizzy”) originate from?
A. Honestly, I’ve never, ever been called McKenzie, my entire life. Ever since I was little. My brother, when he was little, couldn’t say McKenzie. He started calling me Kizzy. And we have home videos of me, not even walking, being called Kizzy. I’ve just always been known by it. Teachers call me Kizzy, I sign my name Kizzy. Everybody always asks me to spell it for them.
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