In her first year as the volleyball team’s starting setter, senior Karissa Cook earned Pac-12 honorable mention honors and ranked 20th in the country with 11.32 assists per set. One of the Cardinal’s most respected players this year, Cook has been sidelined by an injury but was still named a candidate for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. The Daily sat down with Cook to talk all things Stanford volleyball.
The Stanford Daily (TSD): Being injured is always tough—how optimistic are you about your chances of getting back on the court soon?
Karissa Cook (KC): I am very optimistic about my chances of getting back on the court soon. The goal is to be back as soon as possible, and we have the most talented athletic trainers, physical therapists and physicians making that very possible.
TSD: This season has definitely started well for the team, considering that you have won your last seven games. How do you feel about your chances going forward?
KC: Our team is not only talented this year, but we are also very deep. Everyone on the team is capable of coming into big matches and contributing, and going forward into a long season, that’s often what makes the big difference. Everyone is pushing each other in practice, in the weight room and on the court, and if we can keep that same momentum we will be a force to be reckoned with.
TSD: The freshmen have gotten off to a scorching start so far and have certainly made the adjustment to Division I play well. How impressed have you been with their performance? Will the team continue to rely upon them going forward?
KC: I am especially proud of our freshman class. We’ve already needed them to step up in tough games and in new roles, and they’ve proven that they’re a crucial piece of the puzzle.
TSD: Heading into your senior season, you were named as one of the top 30 candidates for the 2012 Senior CLASS Award. What does this honor mean to you?
KC: I’m very grateful to be considered a part of such a wonderful and humbling group of people. I’m still in denial about being a senior though, so I’m assuming it’s all part of an elaborate prank.
TSD: Looking back on your career thus far, what has been your best volleyball memory?
KC: My best volleyball memory is the moment that [coach] John [Dunning] called me and told me that I was invited to join the Stanford women’s volleyball team. It made my life.
TSD: Off the court, how have you enjoyed your time at Stanford? What have you most enjoyed about life on the Farm? What is the best class that you have taken?
KC: I’ve enjoyed the people here the most. You learn more from late-night conversations about life here than in the classrooms, where I promise, you still learn a lot. My favorite class here might have been foam-core monsters in ME 101, the machine shop with ME 203 or Existentialism.
TSD: As a senior, what are you most looking forward to during your last year?
KC: I am looking forward to another awesome season with the most baller group of girls on campus, not having to bike to winter weights in the morning and hanging out in my new home in the Enchanted Broccoli Forest.
TSD: Last season, you were unfortunately bounced from the NCAA tournament in the second round. What lessons did you take away from that loss that will allow you to come back stronger this season and push towards your first championship?
KC: It was a good reminder about how much we hate to lose. We’ve grown a lot since then. We’re tougher now, and we like winning and we’re trying to do a lot of that this year.
TSD: This week you will take on tough teams in Arizona and Arizona State, both on the road. What have you been focusing on in practice to get ready for these matches?
KC: Every weekend in the Pac-12 is full of tough teams, and we work hard every week to be the best that we can both in the short and long term. Heading to Arizona, we are working hard on our sideout game and controlling the match early.
TSD: Lastly, your brother, Brian, stars for the men’s team at Stanford. How have you enjoyed being able to watch him these past two years?
KC: It’s been awesome to have Brian here at Stanford, and he’s on one of the most fun teams at this school to go cheer for. Even though he’s an outside hitter, I taught him everything he knows.