On Wednesday, Georgia Tech junior volleyball player Alexandra Preiss dropped by to take questions as the 20th-ranked Yellow Jacket volleyball team prepares for some key home conference matches next weekend against Virginia and Maryland.
Good morning! Alexandra finished up with her lunch a little early: (11:51 AM ET )
Alexandra Preiss: (11:52 AM ET ) Hello everyone! I’m going to start answering questions now, but wanted to rremind you guys that we play at home this weekend against Virginia and Maryland so if you can, come watch us play!
Swarmee (Atlanta): You’ve really improved every off-season while at Tech. What additional drills or effort do you focus on during the summers to keep yourself at the top of your game?
Alexandra Preiss: (11:54 AM ET ) Thanks for the compliment. In the off-season, I am trying to work really hard every session and I try to improve in two aspects of the game: blocking and hitting. To do this, I work a lot on my blocking footwork and different types of shots for offense. Also, my teammates and I do a lot of lifting in the off-season and speed agility drills with our strength coach, Scott McDonald, who is great.
Al (Atlanta): It looks like your favorite play is the quick set. If not, what is your favorite?
Alexandra Preiss: (11:56 AM ET ) My favorite play is the “tight” where I hit a quick-set right behind the setter’s head and jump off of one foot. But, it always depends on what I feel good about hitting against the opposing blockers. I don’t really worry about where it is hit (cross-court or down the line), I just try and make it go down to the floor!
Derek (Atlanta): Is it true that you once dyed your hair blue and fashioned it into a mohawk? If so, how come this is not a part of your current look?
Alexandra Preiss: (11:57 AM ET ) well, Derek, this is not quite right – actually, my hair was really green, but it was a mohawk. i guess that i don’t have it anymore because i’ve outgrown the punk stage of my life. i still like the music, but the look is a little bit too tough for me.
Peggy (Lilburn, Ga): alexandra – what was the biggest adjustment you had to college volleyball after playing internationally for so long?
Alexandra Preiss: (11:58 AM ET ) the biggest adjustment was to go for balls on defense. the team i have always been on offensively, so we never really focused on the defensive part.
Brett (Clarksville, TN): First off, congratulations on the wonderful season thus far. How excited are you about hosting the ACC tournament at O’Keefe in front of a loud group of Tech fans, and how much does this help pump up the team? Also, what is it going to take to win the ACC this year? Good luck #13
Alexandra Preiss: (12:00 PM ET ) Thanks, Brett, for following our team. Hosting the ACC tournament is going to be great. We always love to play at home because our fans are like a 7th person on the court. To win the ACC, we have to play like we know how to play and I think if we do that, no other ACC team can hang with us. And, of course, it will take fans like yourself coming to help cheer us on.
Buz – Topeka: Congratulations on what so far has been a great season! Tech’s roster is probably the most diverse in the ACC in terms of where the players are from (10 states + Germany). Do you see this as a big plus for the team as well as for your own personal experience in college? (You don’t have to include ‘Gerg’ if you don’t want to..haha).
Alexandra Preiss: (12:02 PM ET ) Having so many people from different parts of the country or even international players really helps on and off the court because everybody contributes in her own differrent way. And, when we have dinners on the road, everyone ALWAYS has a story about home to tell. Yes, even Gergen has some good stories about life in Kansas.
Jack (Atlanta): I know that last year you had some girls on the team from other countries – do you miss not having them around?
Alexandra Preiss: (12:03 PM ET ) I miss talking German to my former teammates, Maja and Geeske. Whenever I hear someone say that they are from Germany, I want to go up to them and speak German. In fact, last week, we were in Winston-Salem at an Olive Garden and there were a group of students outside speaking German, and I stopped and talked to them for a few minutes and it was fun.
Kristine (Smyrna): What has been your most challenging class at Tech?
Alexandra Preiss: (12:05 PM ET ) Definitely Information Technology. First of all, there were so many definitions that I had no clue what they were saying and on the other side, we had an Indian professor who had an accent and two international accents don’t go well together. And, further proof, the professor told the class that no one would get below a “C” and I made a “D” – my only “D” at Tech.
Jack (Marietta): Do you have any pregame rituals?
Alexandra Preiss: (12:07 PM ET ) Jack, before every home game I take a long nap in our training room. while everybody is getting taped and getting pumped up for the game. I think I sleep better when I have noises around me. On the road, I try to visualize what the other team is going to bring and what it takes for us to win against them. I listen to my punk CDs to pump me up, too.
Rob (Atlanta): Other than volleyball, do you have any interests? What else do you like to do in your free time?
Alexandra Preiss: (12:09 PM ET ) In season, the other thing I like to do besides volleyball is sleeping. My life really doesn’t consist of anything else other than volleyball, sleeping, school, and eating (in that order). In the off season I like to hang out with friends. I like to go to punk concerts but I also like to go to the Fox to see musicals with teammates.
Vicky (Cartersville): Do you ever get homesick or miss German traditions?
Alexandra Preiss: (12:11 PM ET ) I get homesick quite often, especially when i just get done talking to my parents on the phone, which isn’t that often. When I have a bad day, I don’t have the possibility of calling my parents because it is too early in the morning to bother them….that’s tough because my teammates have the ability to do that.
I miss “Unifying Day” in Germany, which is Oct. 3, because we never have school that day. And, we do here, and I never want to go.
Amy (Atlanta): I’ve come to a few matches this season and you seem to get really excited after a stuff block…….do you get more satisfaction from a kill or a stuff block?
Alexandra Preiss: (12:12 PM ET ) Definitely a stuff block. That’s why my position is called a MIDDLE BLOCKER. I think it’s the best satisfaction to get a stuff block. It shows the other player that you own her and she has no chance against you.
andy (atlanta): hey im a huge GT fan I went there ive seen you and your really good but who do you think the world series?
Alexandra Preiss: (12:14 PM ET ) I’m rooting for the Angels, but only because my roommate Jennifer Randall, is from Southern California, and she wants them to win. I don’t really understand baseball since we don’t play it in Germany, but I’m catching on.
Alexandra Preiss: (12:16 PM ET ) This year we’re focusing more on the short term goals. Our motto is “Success today” and we try to improve on one little part of the game in one day. With that, the wins will come by itself. Also, we’re having a lot more fun practicing and playing this year. Our coach has done a good job of keeping us focused and motivated, which is hard sometimes in college volleyball because the season is so long.
Sarah, Dallas: What is your favorite memmory with your teammates on our off the court?
Alexandra Preiss: (12:18 PM ET ) Going to Germany last summer was a great experience. I liked to show my teammates how Germans live and what their culture is all about. Berlin was the best part of the trip because we played my former team (who beat us) and I was able to take the girls “clubbing” one of the nights we were there. It was great, too, to see my teammates struggle with the German language. Maybe they will see how I sometimes feel in America.
Delores, L.A. : I know GT is a tough school, but what is your favorite class?
Alexandra Preiss: (12:20 PM ET ) My favorite class is Organizational Behavior. I am taking this right now and I like the professor, Professor Martins, a lot. He is really young and understands what we are interested in. I’m impressed by him – he got his master’s degree when he was really young and has been teaching now for 7 years.
Alan, Louisville: Alex:
I watched you play on TV against UofL. What makes you such a dominant middle blocker? What have you done to get so good?
Alexandra Preiss: (12:22 PM ET ) Alan – In the past, I have had coaches who told me I can’t achieve something, and this has always motivated me to prove them wrong, and I think so far I’ve been doing a good job of proving them wrong. (My german coaches, of course!) Just believing in myself makes me get better each day.
Lindsey, MI: What is your favorite part of the game? How high do you think your team will finish in the rankings this year? Thanks
Alexandra Preiss: (12:24 PM ET ) My favorite part of the game is blocking. There’s nothing better than a stuff block.
As for the rankings, it has been exciting to be a part of a team that has gotten so much national recognition. I think this year we can finish in the top 16 in the national rankings. We are a good team and if everybody plays like they can, there are not a lot of teams that will beat us.
Johnny: Your coach has taken some heat for his article on Rollchot.com. How do you see things shaping up in the ACC?
Alexandra Preiss: (12:26 PM ET ) The team definitely stands behind Bond and agrees with what he was saying on rollshot.com. Our team is looking forward to the chance to play UNC again with all of our players healthy and to show that what he said was right.
Eric (marietta): I was at your heart-breaking loss to UNC, you played awesome. How is Lynette doing and will she make it back this season??
Alexandra Preiss: (12:28 PM ET ) Eric – thanks for coming to watch us play – it was a tough loss for our team.
Lynnette actually is practicing again and I think we’ll have her back on the court either this weekend against Virginia and Maryland or definitely at our match at North Carolina.
Blair is doing a great job for us and gaining valuable experience.
It will be great, though, when we have our entire lineup at full-strength again.
Mazzella (SINY): Hi Alex. I am the best 8th grade voleyball player in my district. I think my play will eventually warrant a college scholarship. How did you choose your school?
Alexandra Preiss: (12:32 PM ET ) Being from Germany I didn’t really know anything about American colleges. I just got really lucky that Georgia Tech recruited me. The school is good and the volleyball program is great. If I would have gotten recruited by another school, I would have probably not gone to Tech just because I wouldn’t have known any better. Now that I have seen so many campuses, though, I still feell good about my choice to come to Tech.
Stick with volleyball, Mazzella, and good luck in your dream to play in college.
Murino (Djais): Hi Alexandra. I want to learn how to really spike the ball. Any suggestions to the best approach?
Alexandra Preiss: (12:35 PM ET ) The best thing to hit the ball as a middle hitter is extending your arm and hitting high. This is something that I have really worked on this year and it has helped me. The other thing to keep in mind as a middle hitter is to work on timing with the setter so that you are not hitting the ball when the ball is coming down or too low.
Alexandra Preiss: (12:37 PM ET ) Hey guys – I gotta run to the training room to do some treatment before today’s practice. Thanks for all the questions today and I hope to see you this Friday at 7 p.m. versus Vriginia and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. versus Maryland.
And, if you come, don’t forget to vote for my pumpkin!