This week The Lafayette sits down with volleyball’s assists leader Julia Howard.
AJ Traub: You lead the team with over 500 assists. How do you play such a big role for the team?
Julia Howard: I’m a consistent leader on the court. At least I try to do that for my team. At my position as a setter, it’s about keeping things controlled and consistent out there. It’s about making everyone their best and giving them opportunities to be successful. It’s about keeping everyone’s emotional game in check and helping them play better.
AT: How has your performance this season compared to your expectations?
JH: I’d always like to be better and reaching to do more, but I think I’ve been fairly consistent for my team. I don’t go through a lot of big lows and I’ve done a pretty good job giving everyone a chance to be successful. I’m excited for the spring season to keep working on the things I need to do better and working to make everyone better for next year.
AT: What are the team’s expectations as the fall season comes to a close?
JH: We have really high expectations for ourselves, for both matches. We beat Loyola once this season and are evenly matched with them. With Colgate, we definitely have the ability to succeed against them. We played them this season, but we have a better feel for them now and we have the ability to do good things.
AT: With no current juniors on the team, how is your class preparing to be the most senior leaders next season?
JH: We’re really excited for it. We’ve taken this season as a transition, knowing that we were new freshmen last year and we’re going to be the central leading force next year. We all work well together and have the ability to lead in different ways. I have no doubt that my class can take on the challenge.
AT: How have your teammates and coaches developed the team together?
JH: This year, we’ve had seven freshmen, five sophomores and two seniors. We’ve focused on the process and made it our goal to not get too caught up in the outcomes. We’ve focused on how to get to where we want to be.
AT: What are your goals for the rest of your volleyball career?
JH: Looking into next year, I know all of us returners have a goal to have a lot more success. We obviously do want more wins and know we can get there through the process we’ve learned this year and by knowing each other more. We’ll have 12 returners and we are looking to get started right off the bat with the new freshmen and create more success on the court. I think another goal for us is to stay a tight-knit team and keep a positive team culture.
AT: You’ve helped tutor other athletes. What has that experience been like?
JH: Here, I’m a peer mentor. In high school, I tutored other athletes. [Now] I’m mentoring and advising freshmen athletes. For both high school and now, I’ve enjoyed getting to know other athletes and relating to them, helping them with their schoolwork and their social life.
AT: What is your favorite experience playing for Lafayette volleyball so far?
JH: The relationships I’ve formed with my teammates, especially my own class. A huge part of our program is the kind of people who are a part of our team. I can honestly say that my teammates are my closest friends here at Lafayette.
AT: Do you have a pre-game routine or ritual?
JH: For my team, all of us get excited in the locker room. We play music and let ourselves go a little before, just to lower our stress and remember that this is fun and it’s going to be fun to play the game that we love.
AT: Does the team have a motto?
JH: Yes we do. Our team statement is “We. You. Me.” That’s our motto to say that the team comes first, then teammates comes second. You as an individual are the last person you’re thinking about.
AT: What are your favorite sports teams?
JH: Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots.
AT: Who is your favorite athlete?
JH: David Ortiz.
AT: Favorite food?
JH: A vegetarian burrito.
AT: What’s something we don’t know about you?
JH: Right now, I am an intended psychology and policy studies double-major. I think some people don’t know that my current idea for [what I’ll do] after college would be to be a mental health counselor or child psychologist. That’s because I’m really passionate about helping other people and I love children.