Nov. 13, 2014
By Jon Cooper
The Good Word
– Friday night won’t be the first time Courtney Felinski shares the spotlight with family — the Georgia Tech volleyball family, on the occasion of nailing a successful spike, making a block or earning a win.
On Friday night, Felinski will be in the spotlight, but this time it’ll be with both her Georgia Tech volleyball and her nuclear family.
Friday night is Senior Night at O’Keefe Gymnasium, and Felinski will be the lone senior being honored. It’s a night Magnolia, Texas, native knew was coming and one she’s seen each of the last three years. But this one is different. This one is for her.
The match with Boston College, which begins at 5 p.m., also is a night of giving back, as the team is promoting its first can food drive, and also kicks off a tremendous weekend of sports.
The Good Word caught up with Felinski and talked with her about her night, her favorite nights past and the big first night of Rivalry Weekend.
THE GOOD WORD: Have you thought about what Senior Night is going to be like?
Courtney Felinski: I have a little bit. I guess I didn’t really before, but now that it’s so close, it’s kind of all I’ve been thinking about this week. It’s just crazy that it’s my Senior Night now because I’ve, obviously, experienced a few and it’s always a really special time. It’s weird that I’m the one that it’s for this time. I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around that. It’s rare that anything like that happens in a team sport like this. I don’t think anybody on the team is used to it being about them. So it will be a little bit weird. But I’m excited to get to celebrate with my teammates and I think it will be a fun night for everybody. I have lots of family coming my parents, my grandmother, a couple of aunts and cousins. I’m really excited to have them here.
TGW: Can you prepare to handle the emotion of the night from having seen other teammates handle their Senior Night?
FELINSKI: I think that over the years I’ve seen the seniors every year just enjoy it a lot. I think it’s a night when your focus, obviously, is on the game, but it’s also on the fact that your career is coming to an end. It’s just about enjoying that moment as much as possible and enjoying one of my last games at O’Keefe as a Georgia Tech volleyball player. I’ve been lucky to be a part of a lot of great wins over my career. One that stands out from last season was beating Florida State when they were top-25. We’ve had a lot of great matches this year. I know coming from behind and being down 0-2 to Syracuse and winning in five, taking No. 9 UNC to five. This season we’ve either come from behind to win or competed really well with some really good teams. It’s been fun to be a part of it.
TGW: Usually Senior Night is the final home match of the season. This season there are two more home matches. Do you think it will be unusual playing in O’Keefe after Senior Night?
FELINSKI: I think it will be a little weird. I’m actually happy that it’s happening this Friday, because I think if it were my last game ever at O’Keefe I would be a lot more emotional. Maybe it will be a little bit easier, knowing that while it’s Senior Night it’s not the end of my career just yet. So it might make it a little bit easier to handle but I know it’s going to be an emotional night anyway.
TGW: You’ve had the best season of your college career — 259 kills, 103 more than your junior season, your previous best. Do you feel good going out playing your best?
FELINSKI: It’s always nice to get better with each year, and it was definitely my goal to have my best season yet and to improve on last year’s numbers. I think along with that I’m just enjoying the game the most that I ever have, I’m grateful for what I’ve had and been able to enjoy every moment as it comes. This season has been really fun. I think something that I’ve realized this year is, regardless of how I’m playing, the most important part of my job as somebody with experience and someone in a leadership position is just to build up and encourage the younger girls as much as I can. I think this year I’ve really focused on just being as proud of them as I can and encouraging them and making sure that they are confident and telling them how good they are so that next year they are as confident as they can be in their play.
TGW: Are you looking forward to kicking off the big sports weekend around campus?
FELINSKI: I am. I think it is going to be really fun. There are a lot of people that I’ve heard from on campus who are going to kind of be making the rounds on Friday, coming to us then basketball, then you have football the next day. I think it’s fun. I love that we get to kick off here. I think a lot of our team is going to go to the basketball game on Friday and then we’ll be helping out at the toy drive Saturday morning and going to the football game from there. So it will be fun.
BONUS: How special is it to be part of Saturday’s Michael Isenhour Toy Drive one final time?
FELINSKI: It’s awesome. We always talk about service projects being a huge part of our responsibility, and I love that this is becoming so prominent and it’s becoming a tradition that we take part in a lot every year. So it’ll be fun. I think it’ll be really special.
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