Aug. 30, 2012
The Michigan volleyball Q&A series continues with junior middle blocker Jennifer Cross. The Wolverines are home for the first time in 2012 this Friday and Saturday (Aug. 31-Sept. 1) as the Maize and Blue hosts the adidas/Michigan Challenge at Cliff Keen Arena. U-M faces Central Michigan on Friday at 7 p.m. Michigan then plays UMBC on Saturday, Sept. 1, at 12 p.m. and Arkansas at 7:30 p.m.
Cross, a native of Scarborough, Ontario, returns for her third season in Ann Arbor. The 2011 Academic All-Big Ten honoree had a solid first week at the Tiger Invitational. She tied a career high with eight blocks and added 11 kills in a five-set win over Virginia Tech on Aug. 25. Cross also had 10 kills and six blocks in a win over North Florida (Aug. 24). Cross has 260 career blocks heading into this weekend's action.
Cross sat down to talk about last weekend's success on the court, her summer with the Canadian national team and all eight of her favorite movies.
Q:Talk about this weekend's first home tournament, how much of an advantage it is to play at Keen and how excited you are to play in front of the home fans.
A: I think it's a really big advantage to play at home. We have such a great fan base. It really helps us. It's also nice to sleep in your own bed and be able eat where you want to eat. To have your family here is also is really important, in a supportive role. So many of our players are so young that having their families here will be really important for them. Also, it'll be great to have some students back in the gym to bring some excitement.
Q: The team is coming off a 4-0 weekend at the Tiger Invitational. What do you think the keys were to having a good weekend in Missouri?
A: We've put in so much work throughout the spring and summer that we were just excited to play. Not to play against ourselves, but to play against another opponent to see what we can do. I think we played extremely well at times, but there were also times when we didn't play so well. But, we were able to move past those pretty fast. A bunch of those teams were quality teams that we were able to beat. It's a confidence booster moving forward.
Q: How do you think the freshmen meshed with the returners in their first matches at Michigan?
A: The freshmen have really merged into the team very well. I think we've all connected, which is great to have six people come into the program and all of their personalities really work. In terms of the volleyball aspect of it, they've integrated really well. Carly (Warner) did a great job when she set the first game and Krystalyn (Goode) really had to adapt to everything and kind of learn as she goes, but she's done a great job of listening to the upperclassmen helping her. I think they've all done a really, really good job of stepping up when the team has needed them to.
Q: You played for the Canadian National team this summer at the Pan American Games. What did you take away from that experience?
A: I am so extremely happy that I chose to go and join the national team again. I think it's a very special thing to be able to represent your country. It was really important to me that I stay involved in that program. I learned so much, and not just about volleyball. The volleyball was great. I got so much better and I was in really great shape. Unfortunately, I did get hurt. It's very frustrating, but at the same time I took so much from that experience. Moving forward I think that's something I will really pull from.
Overall, it was an absolutely wonderful experience.
TV Show ... My favorite show that is currently playing would be The Walking Dead, but House is my favorite show because it's awesome. Hugh Laurie is amazing.
Musical artist ... We the Kings
Movie ... The Harry Potter movies, one through eight.
Vacation spot ... My own bed.
Favorite class at Michigan ... Probably Psych 111, just learning about different aspects of the mind was really interesting. Molly and Ally were in that class with me so it was fun having them there as well.
Lexi Erwin (Aug. 23)