Oct. 22, 2012
Hailing from Laguna Beach, Calif., Alexandra Palmer is in her first year with the Gopher Volleyball program after transferring from Santa Clara. Playing in 74 sets and 21 matches this season, Palmer has aided the Gophers to a .304 hitting clip this season. Adding 701 assists, Palmer also has 11 aces and 131 digs. Earlier this season, Palmer was named the Big Ten Conference’s Setter of the Week after she helped the Gophers to a conference weekend sweep over Illinois and Northwestern (Sept. 21 & 23). Read a little bit about Palmer’s transition to Minnesota and hobbies in this question/answer session.
Q: Talk about your transfer decision, what made you want to come to Minnesota to finish up your last two collegiate seasons?
A: I got to a point in my career where I knew I could play better and I knew I wanted to go to a better program. Minnesota looked like a great place to be with academics and volleyball, especially with the new coaching staff coming in. I was very active with my transferring process. Based on what I was studying and based on what I knew I wanted in a volleyball program, I sought out what programs I wanted to go to on my own. It just seemed like the right fit for me.
Q: Recently you met with Olympic volleyball player Lindsey Berg. What advice did she give you and the team?
A: She has played on some very successful volleyball teams, and told us what it is like being on both successful and unsuccessful teams. She also told us how to be better teammates and how to work together; pretty much all the fundamentals that go into being a good teammate and being leaders on the court. She reminded us to just love what you do every day. She didn’t give me any personal advice, it was more of a team thing, but I was just soaking in everything that she told us, that was the most important thing.
Q: The team hitting percentage has been improving this season. What factors do you think you have helped contribute to that? How have you been able to learn to adapt to all the new hitting personalities on the team?
A: I think that just comes with being a setter. You learn how to work with each of your hitters. And when our passing is on, I give a lot of our hitting percentage credit to the passers because they allow me to do my job better. We have got some great guns, Harms is having a great season, we have Tori and Ashley, Dana, and Daly, and everyone has just been stepping up. It just makes my job a lot easier to help them look good. The Big Ten has been different because I am not used to setting as quick and as big of middles. But I think overall it is just learning the system and wanting to run an offense the way Hugh, Chris, and Laura want us to run the offense. It is always like that going into a new team because you have to learn their system.
Q: How has the atmosphere of the Big Ten Conference impacted your setting compared to playing for the WCC crowds?
A: It is a thousand times better and it is where I want to be. There is a crowd, everyone is supportive of you, it is like a family in here. I don’t know 99 percent of the people that come to the matches every weekend, but I would love to meet all of them and thank them for coming. It is truly an incredible experience playing in here. I think that all younger volleyball players should aspire to playing in a facility like the Sports Pavilion because it’s great! It fires me up when I play here. I like being in front of a crowd, a little Napoleon comes out of me and I want to show off a bit.
Q: You are a big history buff. What kind of history are you interested in and why is that a passion for you?
A: I am a Latin major and I study ancient Greek and Roman literature, culture, and history. I love all that stuff and ancient Rome is my favorite era to study. I love seeing the Romans go through different eras. They have a republic, they have emperors, I just think it is so cool; especially seeing their collapse, which I think is the cause of egotistical emperors- which is hilarious! I love all history and I think history repeats itself; I am a firm believer in that. I believe you can learn from history. Because I did not have ancient history in grade school, I loved U.S. history. I loved World War II, World War I, those are my favorite time periods to study. History and language are my thing. I also translate ancient Latin text; it is a hobby of mine.