July 28, 2014
As the Gophers prepare for the upcoming season, gophersports.com caught up with incoming freshman Maddie Beal. A native of Colorado Springs, Colo., Beal enters her Gopher career after competing with Cheyenne Mountain High School. A multiple-sport athlete, she lettered in both volleyball and lacrosse. The daughter of Nonie and Doug Beal, Maddie is the third member of her family to play collegiate volleyball, while her dad, Doug, has strong USA Volleyball connections as a coach and CEO. Read her student-athlete bio here and check out this short question/answer with the rookie.
Gophersports.com: What made you decide to come to Minnesota?
Maddie Beal: I visited the campus and I fell in love with it when I came here. I didn't expect it to be as pretty as it is and wasn't really sure what to expect. I loved it and I loved the team. Everyone here was so close knit and so nice. I loved all the coaches and the level of the program. Playing for a Big Ten school is always what I wanted and I thought Minnesota offered the whole package.
GS: How long have you been on campus, and so far, what's your first impression?
MB: I've been here since June 25th. I came for Nationals and then moved in right after that. It's a big campus, but I have been figuring it out. Getting around is getting easier. It's really pretty being right on the Mississippi River. I will need a bike! That's probably the biggest thing, but it's been great so far. I have a lot to learn, but it's been fun.
GS: Have you picked out a major yet?
MB: I don't know what I'm majoring in yet, I'm still undecided but thinking either special education or history.
GS: Being from out of state, have you gotten to experience Minnesota and enjoy the city?
MB: I have a little bit. When I was here for Nationals, I got a little taste of the downtown area. I went to the Mall of America last weekend and it was my second time there and that was fun. I think before we report to preseason camp, the team is going to get together. Morgan (Bohl) is going to take us around and see Minneapolis, maybe go to the zoo. I haven't been able to do too much since I've been here, but would definitely like to do more.
GS: You come from quite a volleyball family. Talk about how much the sport has impacted your life.
MB: It's impacted my life a lot. My dad actually never pressured my brother or I to play volleyball and it wasn't even my first sport growing up. I was in swimming, soccer, lacrosse. I was actually big into lacrosse until about two years ago. But volleyball has always impacted my life. From when I was younger I went to my dad's practices and shagging balls. Seeing volleyball in the Olympics, it didn't really mean that much to me when I was younger. It was cool to go to the Olympics, but didn't affect me like it does now. This past Olympics when I was in London, I watched and studied the game of volleyball much more closely. It's really grown on my more as an athlete as I get older and over the years.
GS: Your brother plays volleyball at Ohio State, you're now at Minnesota. Is there any early sibling rivalry yet?
MB: For sure. There will be a big rivalry. My parents are even going to come when we start Big Ten play and that's our first match is against Ohio State. It will be fun.
GS: With USA Volleyball connections, how well did you know coach McCutcheon and how much do you know about his coaching style?
MB: I've known Hugh my whole life and I feel very comfortable around him. As far as his coaching styles, I'm not that familiar with him yet because we've just had open gyms. Because of NCAA rules, he can't run those practices. I worked the camps and he does teach a lot of what they teach at the USA Volleyball High Performance camps. Some of it is very different than what I was used to, so I'm excited to learn new skills and have him teach me the game. I'm excited to get going.
GS: Have you been able to get to know some of your teammates in the last month?
MB: We actually have. This past weekend we went to dinner and we did a lot of fun things. We hung out and one of the players' apartments. For the 4th of July, Adrianna (Nora) invited us up to her cousin's cabin on the lake. She invited some of the freshman and the team up there and that was really fun. It was nice to get to know all of them. I've gotten to know the Tapps and Sarah (Wilhite) this summer. We've gotten to know the team pretty well in a short period of time. It's been pretty nice. I'm acutally really happy to be able to move in when I did. It was nice to get in there before preseason. It's been good bonding time and good training.
GS: The season is coming up. What are you most looking forward to heading into your freshman season?
MB: I'm most looking forward in preseason to just train and get better. I see the freshmen from last year, who are now sophomores. I did the camp with them last year and again this year. It's fun to see how much better they've gotten from last year to this year. For example, Hannah Tapp, how much she's improved in a year. It's really exciting to learn new things and get better. I am just looking forward to improving my volleyball skills and my volleyball IQ. As far as the season, I'm just excited for the games. I think it's an awesome environment to play and have great fans. I'm really excited for that.
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Gophers Travel to Ohio State Wednesday
The No. 5 University of Minnesota travels to Columbus, Ohio, to face Ohio State, Wednesday at 7 p.m. CT. The meeting marks the first competition against the two teams this season.