USMMASports.com’s new feature, the "Mariners Spotlight," is now in its sixth week. Each week we shine a spotlight on different student-athletes from each of our teams. This week, we catch up with sophomore setter Kyleigh Kappas (Parker, Colo.) of the women’s volleyball team.
See below for our Q&A with Kyleigh. Enjoy!
Q: You’re coming off a week where the team went 3-1, including a tough Skyline loss to Mount St. Vincent at home on Thursday. Talk about those matches last week from your perspective. What did the team do right? What did they do wrong? What can you improve on?
A: Coming off of a loss is never easy. We realized that we needed to work harder and smarter as a team. Not necessarily swinging as hard as we can, but placing the ball where the opponent’s defense was not covering or picking up. I think for these next two weeks we need to focus on communicating and playing together as a team. That will keep us focused and determined.
Q: What have you taken away from the first month of the season thus far?
A: I’d like to call us “The Team of Misfits.” We have three new players this year, two basketball players and one trackster. We have zero plebes, two sophomores, and two juniors. Most of us have played together, but gaining the new players has developed a new team chemistry and interaction. We are all very athletic and full of spunk, so it’s fun to play with a variety of players. This has taught me a lot about leadership, and being the best teammate I can be.
Q: What are you looking forward to most the rest of this season?
A: I am looking forward to the playoffs! That’s the best time of the year. I truly believe we have a chance to win the conference this year and I think we are all very motivated to win that trophy and banner and move on to the NCAAs.
Q: Talk to us a little about your freshman season last year – you came on the scene and had an immediate impact on the program and helped lead the team get so close to the Skyline Championship. What did you learn from your first year on the court here at Kings Point?
A: Ahhhh plebe year… what a time. I learned so much from playing my first year at Kings Point. Coming in as a starter and floor captain as a freshman is not an easy job. Having to lead girls who are in charge of me throughout the regiment was a very intimidating place to be in. I learned when to be a follower and when to be a leader. It was also challenging because I was joining a team that has already been playing together. Coach Gaiser was also a first year coach so we all had to learn how one another plays and works.
Q: What have you been able to learn from the upperclassmen on the team? How have your team captains had a positive impact on you these past two seasons?
A: I have learned a lot about the upperclassmen on the team. They all have a special, unique side that they bring forth to the team. I have learned what it’s like to put the team before yourself. We give up a lot of our weekends and free time to play volleyball and workout that we miss out on a lot of gatherings and nights out. My captains for both of my years have really taught me about commitment and pride into the athletics program and Kings Point.
Q: You’re from Parker, Colo. – how has East Coast living been for you? Have you adjusted well in the past year-plus? What is your favorite thing about being so close to New York City?
A: SO DIFFERENT! Everything from the land, the people, the culture, and the money. I believe I have adjusted well. Although I think about Colorado and the beautiful Rocky Mountains all the time, I do enjoy seeing the waterfront that overlooks New York City. My favorite thing about being so close to the city is definitely all the opportunities out here. There is always something to do! Everything from fashion week, to various festivals and street fairs. There is no place like home though.
Q: Who is the funniest player on the team?
A: Tichina!!! She brings a new light to the team. She is always making everybody laugh and has a radiating attitude on and off the court. I am very glad she came out and played with us this season.
Q: What is your favorite quote of Coach Gaiser’s?
A: “What’s the play set?” Only a quote that he and I would understand.
Q: What major are you and what has been your favorite class that you have taken so far and why?
A: I am a Logistics and Marine Transportation major. My favorite classes have been Terrestrial Navigation and Integrated Navigation. Math and Science courses are not my biggest strongpoints, so any time I get to learn about boats and ships I’m all about it.
Q: What company will you be working for during your first Sea Term later this year? What kind of positive advice have your teammates or any other upperclassmen given you ahead of your first Sea Term?
A: I am hoping to work for APL or Matson. Having visited the West Coast often, I am hoping to get assigned to a shipping company with runs out there. Admiral Buzby believes in being the best shipmate and to look after your crew. Upperclassmen have told me to ask lots of questions and WORK ON SEA PROJECTS. This is the time to make mistakes and learn, so ask questions and get to know all systems on a ship.
Q: What do you hope to learn while out at sea?
A: I hope to learn just about everything that operates within a ship. Right now I’ve been on campus for four trimesters and I am SO ready to embark on my new adventure. I have studied the material in class and have learned about the various navigation systems, and I cannot wait to actually put my learning into play and make real life connections.
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