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June 3, 2011

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

– It’s been a busy summer for Monique Mead.

The junior co-captain of the Georgia Tech Volleyball Team took a week off following recent workouts with the U.S. Volleyball Women’s National A2 Program, which took place in Dallas from May 23 through June 1.

Mead was one of 36 players to earn a spot at the camp following the late-February tryouts at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., which saw over 200 athletes try out.

A two-time All-ACC honoree, the Newnan, Ga., native and former Landmark Christian High School star recently took a few minutes to talk with Sting Daily about her second time training with the U.S. Team, what she can bring to this year’s Volleyball team (for which practice starts Monday!), and whether or not she has a future in professional beach volleyball.

STING DAILY: How did your workouts go with the U.S. National Team?

Monique Mead: They went very well. It’s a great opportunity to go and play with some of the best players out there. It’s an awesome time spent away from, not just my team, but away from the people I’m used to and being able make new friends and create new relationships. See people that I wouldn’t normally get to know and I wouldn’t get to play against them. That’s great to have. Building new relationships everywhere.

SD: This was your second summer with the National Team. Were things easier for you this time?

MM: It was definitely harder last year than this year. It definitely was a great experience from last year. Seeing some of the coaches and some people that I recognize, it made it a lot more enjoyable knowing that I wouldn’t be a complete stranger to everyone. When you have people from lots of different schools and different places, it’s hard not to make friends and not meet people. So they put you into places where you have to be friendly and meet people. So there wasn’t any intimidation factor. Everybody was there to play and everybody was on the same page. Everybody that’s there has a love for the game, is so passionate about the game. You’re there to take care of business.

SD: How are you better this year?

MM: I think I’m better because the longer you play the game and the more that you play at this level the smarter you become. I feel like this year I’ve taken on more of a leadership role, being an attacker on my team and being able to see how these girls play, not every ball has to be this hard ball, hard driven ball at the 10-foot line. A tip is just as good as a swing and just knowing your different styles and knowing who you’re up against and knowing how to help your teammates be better, I think that’s what made me better, being able to pick out shots and helping out my team.

SD: What are your plans for the rest of the summer?

MM: I have to go to workouts again starting up on Monday. So [last] week, from Wednesday to Monday, I’ll have time to recuperate and time to go to the whirlpool and get my legs back from playing so much this past week. This is really recuperation for me right now and then Monday, everything starts up again, classes and everything.

SD: Did you have time for some fun away from volleyball this summer?

MM: It’s been good. I’ve been traveling so much. We just got a week of break so I went out of town and went to the beach with my family.

SD: Were you tempted to get into a beach volleyball game?

MM: (laughs) I was. I talked about it a little bit with my sister, but I didn’t. I’m not very good at beach volleyball. I’ve got to get better at that.

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