Folsom Athlete of the Week: Meredith MacDonnellBy: Matt Long of the Telegraph
Folsom High’s varsity girls’ volleyball team won two Sierra Foothill League matches last week, their first wins in league play since 2014.
Senior tri-captain and middle blocker Meredith MacDonnell played a big role in the wins. As the team’s tallest player at 6-2, she is the team’s top player at the net, leading the team in hitting percentage (.245), kill percentage (41.7) and blocks (55 total, 22 solo). She also has 32 aces and 80 kills on the season. She is tied for fourth in the SFL in hitting percentage, second in the number of blocks and leads the league in solo blocks.
“Meredith is the most dominating asset of our offense,” Folsom Coach Michella Harvey said. “She also brings passion and enthusiasm to every game. We admire her strong work ethic, determination and positivity. We rely on her both offensively and defensively as one of our most aggressive hitters and our strongest blocker.”
Folsom Telegraph: Last year, you told us your plans for after high school were to play volleyball in college and get your Master’s Degree in Business Administration. Can you update us on those plans? Any changes a year later or any additional specifics you can give us?
Meredith MacDonnell: My plans haven't changed much; I know that I still want to major in Business Finance and get a Master's Degree in Business Admin. As for volleyball in college, I have not yet committed, but am still considering the option if the right opportunity arises.
FT: How did you get into the sport of volleyball and how old were you? What do you like about it?
MM: I first started volleyball at 9 years old when my mom signed me up for the US Youth Volleyball League, which my dad coached for the five seasons I participated. I fell in love with volleyball instantly. I love both the competition and the people; I have met some of my best friends through volleyball.
FT: You are 6-2 and the tallest player on your team and in your family. Do you like being that tall? What are some advantages and disadvantages to your height?
MM: Personally, I absolutely LOVE being tall! I can see over everyone in a crowd, I can reach everything, and it is super helpful when it comes to volleyball. The only disadvantage is that this world isn't really catered to a girl who is 6-2.
FT: After not winning a Sierra Foothill League match a year ago, your team recently defeated Woodcreek and then Granite Bay for your first league wins since 2014. How did that feel to reach that goal of getting that league win. What were the keys to winning the matches?
MM: It felt like redemption. When you are going into a season with a previous 0-12 record, it doesn't put a very competitive reputation on the program. That being said, when we beat Woodcreek and Granite Bay, and have competed well against the other teams in our league, it shows that we aren't the same team we were and that we belong in the competitive league we are in.
FT: Describe the progress your team has made so far this season? What are some things you’d like to improve upon?
MM: Our team has come a long way since last year. We have taken games against both Rocklin and Oak Ridge, who are both ranked very high in the section, and we also just beat Granite Bay, which was a huge win for us. We have come together as a team and are really working very well together. Something that we have been working on is keeping consistent energy and skill throughout the match which we have done very well these past league matches.
FT: You often kill the ball on offense and block it on defense. Which one, a block or a kill, makes you happier?
MM: Both get me hyped, but I have to go with a block. There is just nothing like stuff blocking the other teams hard driven hit.
FT: What are your goals for yourself this season? What about your team’s goals?
MM: My two main goals for this season are to make first-team All-League and also to be a captain my team can rely on. As for the team goal, I would love to see us make it to playoffs.
FT: You said last year math is your favorite subject. What math class are you taking this year? What do you like about it?
MM: This year I am taking both AP Calculus AB and AP Statistics. I love Calculus because, well, it's math and also because of the teacher. Mr. Chayo, is one of the best teachers I've had and his teaching style is like no other. He focuses on teaching concepts rather than memorizing formulas, which helps us, as he would say, dominate.
FT: You are out for dinner at a restaurant. Given the choice of anything, what do you order for dessert?
MM: I would have to go for a pizookie, which is a big chocolate chip cookie with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. It never disappoints.
FT: I saw you recently in the Dog Pack at one of Folsom High’s football games. What do you enjoy most about going to the football games?
MM: The Dog Pack this year is unlike every other year since I have been at Folsom High. I love that we now have a speaker and play music to sing along to and also that more people are staying till the end of the game.
FT: Are you still interested in being a Chief Financial Officer? If not, what job are you interested in getting some day?
MM: Being a CFO is definitely still the goal, but another career I am very interested in pursuing is a Personal Financial Adviser.
FT: Mackenzie Blay was the funniest person on last year’s team, but she has graduated. Who has taken her title as funniest person on the team and why?
MM: Both Caroline Lombardi and Kylie Stasko crack me up on the daily! A practice/game doesn't go by without them making me laugh.
FT: Of your co-head coaches, who is scarier when they get angry?
MM: That's tough since both get scary when they get upset, so it's definitely something we try to avoid. If I had to choose, I would pick Michella. She doesn't get too mad often so when she does, you know you are in trouble.