By Taylor Tobin, Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
UP volleyball player, senior outside hitter Ariel Usher was the 10th player in Pilot history to get her 1000th kill on Sept. 29. Coming from Hillsboro, Ore., Usher lettered all four years in volleyball at Glencoe High School. Even with these accomplishments in her volleyball career, there is more to Usher than her sport.
Do you have any rituals before a game?
I always have to shave my legs before a game. That's a superstition of mine, but I'm not one to be like, "We're going to lose because of it." I also have a lucky hair tie.
How has the atmosphere of UP volleyball changed from when you were a freshman to now?
When I was a freshman I played, but I didn't feel like I was a big part of [the team]. I feel like the team has changed. The team chemistry during my freshman year, the girls was separated. We were really close as a [freshmen] class, but our team has gotten so much closer and we've created such good team chemistry. I think it's because we work really hard in the off-season and we create that bonding experience through our hard work with our strength and conditioning coach. That's always fun. Everyone struggles through it, but we get through it together.
How do you bond as a team outside of volleyball?
We take trips during the off-season. We'll go to my house or Sun River. We always try to take a fun trip with everyone, because everyone gets busy. Now we see each other every single day, but in the off-season, we'll see everyone for a minimal amount of time. So we try to get together outside of volleyball.
What other hobbies do you have besides volleyball?
I love to travel. I'd really like to go to Australia. Right now, we have a girl on our team from Australia, [junior middle blocker, Beth Carey], so I'm trying to get the hookup there. I just went on a trip to Europe this summer with my family. [We] went to Rome, on a cruise, then to Monte Carlo. My favorite was Amsterdam. I just like the vibe of Amsterdam. It was super cool.
Do you like to play any sports besides volleyball?
I really love tennis. I play a little bit of golf sometimes. I'm not very good at it though. I'm not good at basketball. People always say 'You should play basketball', but I'm just not good at it.
Who is your volleyball idol?
Misty May and Kerry Walsh. I mean, let's be honest, they're incredible. I met Misty May and Kerry Walsh with my high school [team]. We went down to Huntington Beach and watched them play. They're just the nicest people ever.
How long have you been playing volleyball?
I've been playing since I was like 2 years old. I would bump a ball when I was two. Both my parents played. My mom coached, so I was always around her when she was coaching. I was a gym rat. She couldn't get me to leave. I was all about volleyball, all the time. She tried to get me into other sports, because she didn't want her love to be my love; she wanted me to find my own thing. But I just [developed the love] on my own.
Will you continue to play volleyball after this year?
Hopefully, I'll be playing next year on the beach. It's so much fun. I want to play for my fifth year somewhere. You can play a different sport your fifth year, so [you] technically have five years of eligibility. I'm going to try and play outdoor, because, technically, it's a different sport. [We don't have it] here, but a bunch of schools in California and in the West Coast Conference have it.
Where would you like to play next year?
I have a top three-Pepperdine, Long Beach, and Florida State. I can't [apply] until we're done with season. So, right after we're done, I'll start talking to people and hopefully it will work out.
What type of music do you listen to?
I love country. Shania [Twain] is my favorite. "Any Man of Mine" is my favorite song. Our whole team rocks out to Shania.
Do you have any pet peeves?
I don't like it when people walk slowly. I'm a really fast walker. Yeah, [I will pass people]. I'm all about that fast-walking life.