December 11, 2008

Q and A: Volleyball Player Mandy Daniels

Dec. 11, 2008

By Keenan Bowen, EWU Sports Information

Senior libero Mandy Daniels and the rest of the Eastern Washington University women's volleyball team finished up their 2008 season recently, winning the Big Sky Conference regular-season championship and advancing to the title match of the Big Sky Tournament. Daniels was also recently honored as EWU's female Scholar-Athlete for the month of November.

Daniels' career is one that will be remembered for years to come. The native of Spokane, Wash., and graduate of University High School finished her Eagle career with school records for single-season and career digs per set, 4.89 and 4.49 respectively, and placed highly in a number of record categories.

She entered her final weekend with 4.76 dps this year - trailing her own school record of 4.81 set the year prior - before putting together two of the best performances of her career at the Big Sky Championship with 45 digs in seven sets of play (including 29 in the title match), raising her average to a school-record level. Her career mark of 4.49 was heads and tails above her predecessors, as Andrea Verdoljak (2002-04) previously held that mark at 3.95.

Also included in her accolades are three 30-dig performances this year in addition to two last year (there had been only 11 in Eastern history entering the 2007 campaign). Included among those outstanding performances was a 34-dig output in a 3-1 road win over Sacramento State on Nov. 21 that clinched a share of the league's regular-season title (which Eastern would earn outright the next night). That dig total is the most ever posted by an Eagle in a match less than five sets long and is tied for the third-best in a contest of any length.

Daniels is in the process of finishing up a degree in business marketing.

Q: How does it feel to be named a Scholar-Athlete for the month?

A: "It is an honor to be named Scholar-Athlete of the month because it shows that athletes are being recognized for doing well in the classroom as well as in their sport."

Q: Who has been the most influential person in your academic career?

A: "I would say my parents because they have always expected me to get good grades. They have high expectations for me, so I try my best to exceed their expectations."

Q: To what do you attribute your academic success?

A: "Hard work mostly. I have to try hard to do well in my classes, especially this year being a senior, but it's true what they say - `hard work pays off!'"

Q: Who has been your favorite professor while attending EWU?

A: "I have liked a lot of the professors I have had over the years at Eastern, but most recently my favorite would be one of my marketing teachers, Damon Aiken."

Q: You are majoring in business marketing - what do you plan to do career wise?

A: "The plan as of right now, since I am graduating this spring, is to apply for some marketing internships locally and get some work experience this summer and network. Then I will start applying for a job and will hopefully find one by next fall."

Q: What is your favorite volleyball memory?

A: "I'd have to say my senior year at University High School. We went undefeated in the Greater Spokane League and we beat Mead, who won state numerous times in a row. I think that was the most exciting moment, completing an undefeated season against some great teams."

Q: What part of volleyball do you like best?

A: "I think just the competitiveness; I like to win. Practices can be long and hard, but once you get in the matches -- playing competitively together is the best part."

Q: Best thing about being a Division I student-athlete?

A: "Just having the opportunity to do it. Not too many people can say they have played a Division I sport. Being able to represent our school and do well is great."

Q: Who has been the most influential people in your playing career?

A: "I would have to say my parents. They've always supported me and are always happy for me. They wanted me to keep playing after high school, and they come to all of our home matches, which is great."

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