Q&A with a Razorback
By John Thomas Arkansas Media Relations Kelli Stipanovich returns for her second season of volleyball as a Razorback. The 6-1 outside hitter is a St. Louis, Mo., native grew up in an athletic family with her father, Steve, playing professional basketball for the Indiana Pacers for five seasons. As a freshman, Stipanovich led the team with a season-best 303 kills and was second with 2.83 kills-per-game in 2008. Stipanovich tallied double-digit kills in 18 matches with a career-best 21 in an SEC match with South Carolina. Stipanovich continued to expand her experience taking part in the U.S. Women’s National Team Open Tryouts at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. She followed up with a selection to the U.S. A2 Europe touring team that played internationally in the late summer. In addition to her one-the-court success, Stipanovich was recognized by the Southeastern Conference with selection to the Volleyball Community Service team. She was also a member of the Arkansas Athletic Department’s Athletic Director’s List for the spring 2009 semester. MR: I’m not sure if you knew this, but this will be in the first football game program next week. I have to ask, do you like football? KS: I do like football. I’m not a huge fan, but I love going to the games. MR: What other sports do you like other than volleyball? KS: I love basketball. I used to play basketball and I have a lot of friends on the soccer team. I just love going to all the sports and supporting the other teams. That’s what most of the athletes do. We try to go to each other’s games and support everyone. It’s just a lot of fun. MR: Out of those sports, which one would you most like to actually play? KS: Well, I’ve always wanted to be a tennis player, but I’m not very good. When I’m home is usually when I play the most tennis. MR: You were a freshman last year, coming to college, what was your biggest reality check or your welcome to college moment? KS: Just how much bigger everything is. Going to classes and having a lot of responsibilities. It definitely took a lot of adjustment, but something that I’ve enjoyed so far. MR: What makes volleyball so exciting to you? KS: The fact that, throughout the game, anybody can score at any time. There’s always a point going to somebody and you always have to be on your toes. MR: Is there something about volleyball that people may not necessarily know? KS: A lot of people get confused with the rotation. If you are in the back row you can’t do things that the front row can do or where the libero comes in. People just don’t understand it and probably never will. MR: What is your major and what do you plan to do after graduation? KS: That’s a hard question. Right now, I am a communications major with an art minor. I’m not sure what I want to do after graduation, but I definitely want to work with people. I definitely want to travel and do world-wide missions. MR: Talking about working with people, student-atheletes here at school do a lot of community service around Fayetteville. How important is that to you to give back to the community? KS: It’s huge. It’s always such a joy to be able to hang out with kids and those kind of things. I think it’s huge that they come to support us, so it’s our duty to give back to them in any way we can. That’s one thing I love about Arkansas, is the amount of community service we’re involved in. I think it’s really important and it teaches us a lot too. MR: Out of all the schools you could have gone to, why did you choose Arkansas? KS: It’s just a big time program and I really wanted to go to a big school in the Midwest since I grew up in St. Louis. I just liked the atmosphere here and the school spirit. MR: I noticed in your bio that you grew up with five siblings, what was that like? KS: I love my family. I am a huge family person. It’s five girls altogether and one boy. It’s just fun to have people around all the time. It definitely helped with leadership skills and being asked to work together on things. Having a big family just really helps with that kind of stuff. MR: What was it like to have such a contributing role on the team last year? KS: It was definitely a great opportunity for me. I learned so much more than freshmen usually do. At times, I was overwhelmed a little bit. Coming to college, you have to remember that the games change a little bit, but I was excited and it was such a privilege and opportunity that freshmen don’t get. I’m now ahead of players in my class that didn’t get to play as much.