Our Project Manager, Siobhan Johansen, grew up on the volleyball court- a talent that earned her a spot on the University of Alaska Anchorage collegiate team in 2010. Now, as a UAA alumni, she still enjoys playing any chance she can get, expanding her skills as a volunteer coach and sharpening her court-game skills.
What initially got you into volleyball?
I started playing volleyball in 6th grade. At that point it was just a fun after school activity, I didn’t fall in love with the sport until I became a setter a year later. Something clicked and I’ve played ever since (18 years!), including four years on the University of Alaska Anchorage team.
What is your most memorable moment in playing competitively?
Beating Western Washington (3-2) on their home court, to have an undefeated first half of the season my senior year. I still remember the play we ran on match point and the off-the-charts celebrating we all did when we won the point. All 5 sets had been super close, so it felt even more amazing to win.
Is there a coach or athlete that you look up to as a role model and why?
Honestly, I looked up to any teammate that had to deal with injuries (surgery, rehab etc.). I’m very proud of all of them for fighting through and coming back even stronger than before.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gained from your coaches?
“Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” There’s no point in just going through the motions of a drill or practice session, if you’re not engaged and focused on your form, skill etc. This also translates into the “real world” by reminding me to not just go through the motions on projects and actively be engaged and proactive.
What is one important lesson you’ve learned from your time as a college athlete?
Enjoy the moments when you’re in them. Waking up for morning practice at 6am every day and working out in the weight room each day were hard, but I would give anything to be able to go back and experience it all again. I loved competing (and winning, let’s be honest), and all the moments with my teammates and coaches off the court and outside of the gym.
What volleyball plans do you have for the future?
I’m ready to start playing again. I took a break during 2020 but hope to join my team again for the co-ed rec league in the fall. I haven’t played volleyball since March 2020 though so hopefully I still know how to play!