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    Fighting Irish

    Sept. 4, 1997

    Interview with Jaimie Lee and Angie Harris

    Lee/Harris
    Angie Harris (left) and Jaimie Lee. (FANSonly)

    First, we want to thank Jaimie Lee and Angie Harris for taking time from their busy schedules to join us today. Thanks a lot.

    Question: Speaking of schedules, Jaimie, your's compares quite favorably to a diplomatic envoy these days. Last week it was Sicily, this week it's Spokane. Why don't you run down your recent travel itinerary for us and tell us what you did this summer.

    Jaimie: I started out in mid-May, I went to Colorado Springs and trained there for a month with the national team. And then I spent about 10 weeks with the World University Games team, which is probably the equivalent to a U.S. National 'B' team. In the beginning of August we went to the Canadian Cup in Winnipeg and played against Germany, Hungary and Canada in a tournament there. We took second. And then on the 13th we flew to Chicago and then right out to Catania, Sicily. We stayed there until the 30th, won the silver (medal) there and came home. We played a match against Wisconsin, and now Spokane.

    Jaimie Lee photo
    Jaimie Lee.

    Q: Now, while Jaimie was doing all of this traveling of the globe, Angie you've been kind of holding down the fort at home. Monday you were named the BIG EAST player of the week based upon your performance in the Shamrock Invitational here at Notre Dame last week. You lost to Wisconsin in the title game, which had to be a hit of a disappointment, but your all-around game is apparently in pretty good shape. How do you feel about your play right now?

    Angie: I feel really good. I had a good preseason. My body's feeling good. Mandi Powell stepped in for Jaimie Lee and she did a nice job. We're glad to have Jaimie back, that gives us a little more firepower on the outside. And Denise Boylan, the setter's, doing a great job of giving me the ball. Everything feels good.

    Q: Angie, you're from Fort Wayne which is fairly near here, and it means your family and friends can see you play, But Jaimie, the team leaves tomorrow for the Spikeoff Spokane, which is in your hometown. When's the last time some of your family members got a chance to see you play?

    Jaimie: Usually, every year my parents and brother and sister, and sometimes grandparents, fly to the matches that we play out West, like Colorado or California. And usually once or twice a year they come to watch us here. But they have never seen me play in Spokane since I was a senior in high school. There are members of my family who either physically can't or financially can't come out here, too. I don't think that any of my friends have flown out here, that I can remember, since I've come. So this will be the first time that most of my high school friends have seen me play.

    Angie Harris
    Angie Harris.

    Q: Notre Dame's going to have a big rooting section then?

    Jaimie: I think that our alumni club has done a lot of promotion for it. So I think it should be a big crowd.

    Q: Angie, you underwent two knee surgeries last year on your left knee. You also experienced some tendinitis on your right knee. Can a series of injuries like that sharpen an athlete's focus? Does it make you realize how much you enjoy your sport?

    Angie: It definitely does. You realize the things you have to work at. Recovering from an injury you have to focus on the strengths that you need to get back. I had to focus on primarily leg strength and hamstring strength. Doing that helps you improve your overall strength, jumping ability, and other things. It puts more of a focus on that. Whereas if you're not injured and fine, you can just go in and do your thing and be done quick. But if you're recovering from an injury you have to focus and work hard and get the task done.

    Jaime Lee
    Jaimie Lee.

    Q: Who are you working with? Last year you were hurt near the middle of the season, are there trainers who you're working with or are you on your own at that point?

    Angie: Throughout the summer we have a strength and conditioning coach who we work with, that's Michelle Lovitt. I worked with her all summer long. Then we have our trainers who take care of our injuries.

    Q: Now both of you are very versatile players. Jaimie, you've been an outside hitter here, you've been a middle blocker, you've been pressed into duty as a setter. And Angie you've got a variety of skills: you hit, you dig, you serve. As a matter of fact, I've heard you're jump serve's one of the better one's around. Is too much made of the -- quote, unquote -- positions in volleyball? Or do players like to be able to settle into one specific role?

    Jaimie: I think in the past it was definitely a trend that a middle blocker was a middle blocker. And an outside was an outside, a setter a setter. I think especially today, people want a more versatile player. There are also, of course, people who are just physically into one thing. Their physical makeup pretty much ascribes them to one thing. I don't think that it's a disadvantage at all to be a versatile person, or somebody who can play more than one position.

    Q: Angie, do you subscribe to the same theory? Do you enjoy moving around the court? Do you enjoy maybe getting placed in a couple of different positions?

    Angie: I definitely agree with what Jaimie just said. On my part though I never played middle blocker or setter. I'm primarily an outside hitter. I'd like to hit from the right side, jump serve, those types of things. Stepping into a middle blocker's position is not something I can do. So, in those regards I'm probably one of those players who can stick to the outside.

    Q: Where did your serving ability come from? Is that something a coach made you work on when you were young? Or is that something that naturally came to you?

    Angie Harris and Jaimie Lee photo
    Harris and Lee celebrate. (File photo)

    Angie: When I was in high school it was just something fun we all did. We'd see other people do it and say, 'Oh, I might as well try that.' If we were ahead in a match, I'd go ahead and do it. But I didn't do it on a consistent basis until I got here my freshman year. And I have been ever since.

    Q: You two are friends, you're roommates, you've shared a lot of experiences here at Notre Dame. How would you sum up the student-athlete experience that somebody goes through at Notre Dame?

    Jaimie: At first I think I was really overwhelmed with school my freshman year. I kind of went through the feeling that I'd fail out. Especially, the first semester. Somehow through the tutoring -- and they hold your hand your freshman year a little bit -- you learn to balance and you learn time management. So I think it's gotten better every year for me and I think it's probably evidenced by the fact that I'm not as stressed out and my grades have improved as I've been here. I think you just kind of settle into a routine. Whereas your freshman year is a little bit frantic.

    Angie: Definitely, when I came in I did not know time management. Once you get that down then everything's fine. But it's a really good experience. You live and learn as you go.

    Q: And speaking of time management, I know you just got back last week from Sicily, right as school was starting. Have you had a chance to get your apartment furnished yet, the phone hooked up and all those little details taken care of?

    Jaimie: The phone company messed up. I'll say that on record (laughs). They have not installed us a phone yet. Our apartment is still a little bit in shambles, but at least I have a bed. It's coming slowly but surely.

    Again, we really want to thank Jaimie Lee and Angie Harris, Notre Dame women's volleyball players, for spending a little time with us today.

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