Kristina Susak is a junior majoring in kinesiology and psychology on the volleyball team.
KS: Playing in Denver for the conference tournament has been a great experience. To some extent, we often have a home court advantage because of our fan section. Our parents do a great job of traveling to the majority of games — and it’s much easier when the games are in your backyard. Mehana Fonseca and I both live close to the DU campus, making it easy for our friends and family to come cheer on the Yotes. This year we made it to both Mehana and I’s houses for meals and took a trip to Red Rocks Amphitheater. It was fun getting to show the team where we grew up.
MS: What injures do you have and how do you play through them?
KS: This year was filled with a surplus of injuries for our team. We were able to prove our depth and have success despite losing many players to knee injuries. I have been struggling with a stress fracture in my shin for the past few months and am in a boot any time I’m not on the court, which was only for warm ups and games. The coaches helped me shift my focus from making major improvements to maintaining, doing what I can to help the team and enjoying the game to the best of my ability. By God’s grace, I was able to finish the season and am very thankful for that.
MS: Has the weight room and lifting helped you through injuries? How has strength played a role in your volleyball career here?
KS: Stroeh, our strength coach, has been very understanding and insightful throughout this season. He has given me alternative lifts and workouts that don’t put stress on my shins. My strength has increased significantly since coming to USD, both physically and mentally. When I came in as a freshman, I had hardly looked at weights, let alone lift them. Needless to say, a lot has changed since then. I believe I am a better player because of the work put in in the weight room.
MS: After the heartbreaking loss to ORU, what are your hopes for the future (your senior season)?
KS: Losing to Oral Roberts was a tough pill to swallow. They are an incredible team, but that didn’t change the fact that it was my last time playing with some of my favorite people. Kelly (Law), Brittany (Jessen), Meagan (Kerns) and Raquel (West) have made such an impact on this team and all have traits that I aspire to emulate. When the team gets back in the gym in January, the sole focus is going to be making changes in order to have success next season. We want the school’s first Summit League Volleyball Tournament title, and we are going to put in the work to get it.