Nov. 18, 2003
Cullowhee, N.C. - The Western Carolina volleyball team has begun preparations this week for the Southern Conference tournament, which is being held Friday, November 22, through Sunday, November 24, at Maclellan Gymnasium on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in Chattanooga, Tenn. Western enters the tournament as the third seed in the north division and will square off against Georgia Southern, which is the second seed in the south. Match time is set for Noon. Should the Catamounts advance, the semifinal match is scheduled for 5:00 pm on Saturday with the championship match set for 2:00 pm on Sunday.
For three Catamount seniors, this will be the last chance for them to claim a SoCon championship. Western Carolina Media Relations caught up with the upperclassmen this week and found that not much else is on their minds right now other than that sought after championship.
- With assistance from WCU student, Cameron McDowell
Media Relations: What are your thoughts heading into the Southern Conference Tournament?
Michelle Gorton: We can win. We can prove to everybody what we are capable of. We need to play with confidence and determination and play with all our heart.
Shari Harder: There are so many, but the one thing that stands out is that since we didn't get 20 wins, this (championship) is all that matters right now. No regrets - I'm playing because it's my last chance. Komo (Sara Komosinski), Michelle (Gorton) and I are going to BALL OUT!
Sara Komosinski: This is my last chance - do or die. I want a championship more than anything.
MR: What has volleyball taught you that has carried over into the rest of your life?
Gorton: Discipline - a lot of it, and time management. Sometimes it's not all about one person, but the team as a whole. It has taught me how to be a leader.
Harder: You can have people telling you all your life that you can do big things, but until you convince yourself, you are working for nothing.
Komosinski: "When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on." -Thomas Jefferson
MR: What are you plans after you graduate from Western?
Gorton: Go to grad school at Florida Gulf Coast University to get my master's in Gerontology (study of elderly) with a grad assistantship coaching the volleyball team. I want to become certified in Recreational Therapy and live in the state of Florida.
Harder: Attend grad school to get my MBA. While I am doing that, I want to be the grad assistant for the volleyball team there. (Shari is a Marketing Major with a Sport Studies minor.)
Komsinski: Find a coaching grad assistant position while I achieve my master's, although I do not want to coach for a career. After that (grad school) I want to have a career in Human Resources or Internal Public Relations and I would like to work in the south. (Sara is a Sociology major and with a minor in Communications.)
MR: What has been your most memorable moment in your volleyball career?
Gorton: Beating the University of Tennessee at home and away and getting my first double-double at Middle Tennessee.
Harder: Getting two triple-doubles (at the Samford Tournament) and seeing my jersey at the last chair of the bench for four years.
Komosinski: Anytime my parents made it to a match. Also, playing against Georgia Tech and our old assistant coach, Ben Bodipo-Memba, and breaking the WCU career blocks record.
MR (to Gorton): What would make this season a successful one for you personally?
Gorton: To win the Southern Conference tournament, knowing that we all played every game with all of our hearts and determination, and to play with no regrets in our final games.
MR: What kind of impact do you think you have left on the team over your career?
Gorton: I believe I left a different type of leadership - more of a positive outlook and trust in my teammates. I left my teammates knowing that I helped them gain more knowledge about the game and old tricks of the trade.
MR (to Harder): What has been your goal for yourself and your team over the past two years as a starter?
Harder: Being a leader as a setter and staying positive throughout each match. By keeping my intensity and confidence up, I have hoped to feed it to everyone else on the court.
MR: You've had a successful season, making three all-tournament teams and being named the MVP of the Samford tournament to name a few accomplishments. What has motivated you on the court this year?
Harder: Knowing in the back of my mind all year that this is my last shot at Division I volleyball, I pushed myself hard all summer and worked every practice so that I would have no regrets.
MR (to Komosinski): Your name appears in several top five categories in Westerns' volleyball record book. What does it mean to you to be one of Western's all-time best players?
Komosinski: I just wish I could have done more. Being in the record book is great, but more important was getting 20 wins in my senior year, which we didn't get. That's been important to me.
MR: On the court, what gives you the biggest thrill?
Komosinski: Blocking by far. Getting a kill is nothing compared to taking away someone else's kill.