Nov. 8, 2012
The Michigan volleyball Q&A series continues with fifth-year senior right side Claire McElheny. McElheny will be honored this Saturday night (Nov. 10) after the match against Minnesota as the Wolverines are hosting Senior Night. The Wolverines also face Wisconsin Friday night (Nov. 9). Both matches begin at 7 p.m. Tickets for both matches are just $2 if purchased online at MGoBlue.com/tickets.
McElheny, the team's only senior and a co-captain, has played in 92 matches for the Maize and Blue with 70 career starts. She has 745 kills and 188 total blocks in her career. The Westfield, Ind., native had a career-high 19 kills against Pepperdine on Sept. 10, 2011, and had a career-best six blocks against Utah on Sept. 8, 2010. This year, McElheny had a season-best 14 kills against Purdue on Sept. 22, and set a career-high with nine digs in the Virginia Tech match (Aug. 25). McElheny has been to the NCAA Tournament all four years she has been a Wolverine and sports a career 117-51 record.
Q: What are your thoughts and feelings going into this weekend?
A: I'm really excited. I don't think of it as a last weekend. Some of the girls have been joking about songs that have my last in it, but I don't really think about it like that. We have a couple of games and the tournament left so I mean it's my last game at home, but I try not to think about it because I'll probably get sad and let it distract me a little bit.
Q: What's your most memorable moment at Cliff Keen Arena?
A: Actually in 2009 when we made it to the Elite Eight, we hosted the first and second rounds of the tournament and to get to the Sweet 16, we were losing 2-0 to Ohio and came back and won in five to move on in the tournament.
Q: How has it been coming back for a fifth season? Also, how has it been to be a captain on the team?
A: It's been great. I don't think my body wanted me to come back for a fifth year but I've been fighting through that all season. I love this group. I'm glad I got to stick around and see this class of freshman and see the juniors and sophomore grow up before my eyes. A Mother Goose, as they joke about. I'm really glad I stayed.
Q: Your parents come to every game. How important has their support been on and off the court?
A: I love it. This year is my fifth year and they call it their victory lap so they've made it to every game, driving to Iowa and Nebraska. It's just cool to see. I love coming out after a win or a loss and my parents are the first ones there with a huge. Now, they're brutally honest sometimes, but it great to see them there.
Q: How did last year's senior class help you moving into this season?
A: I don't remember any advice. They were my best friends. We came here as freshmen and I knew I was going to be the one that would still be here. I think I learned some of the ways that they approach things. Courtney Fletcher had a phenomenal senior season. That's something that I kind of wanted to model, I guess. There are so many distractions of what job I'm going to get and all of these things. Sometimes the seniors can let that distract them and effect their season, but Courtney didn't at all and that's something that all season I've kept in mind. Just to stay focused and don't let distractions get in the way.
Food ... Caprese salad (tomato and mozzarella)
TV Show ... Criminal Minds
Musical artist ... Jason Aldean
Movie ... For the Love of the Game
Vacation spot ... St. Thomas
Class at U-M ... My social psychology classes have been really interesting