Glacier Peak senior volleyball player Sydney Petersen is “a disruptive force” from her middle blocker position, according to Grizzlies coach Dave Thorn.
“She has a huge block, and she’s a big offensive weapon,” Thorn said. “There’s a lot of different ways that we can use her.”
Petersen, a Herald All-Area second-team selection last season, will continue her volleyball career at the University of Nevada. For the past two years she’s been a member of the Seattle Juniors Volleyball Club.
The Herald recently talked with Petersen about her volleyball career, future plans and more:
How did you start playing volleyball?
I started playing rec volleyball in the Snohomish youth program in the fifth grade. I had played basketball, and I liked it, but I wasn’t as aggressive as the other girls. One of my basketball teammates turned out for volleyball, and I thought I might as well try it. I didn’t like it at first — I didn’t like the short shorts, giggling, clapping, high-fiving. But it’s grown on me, and now I love it. I’m not sure why I stuck with it back then, but now I’m so glad I did. In the eighth grade I started playing club ball, and I started getting serious about volleyball just before the start of freshman year.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
I’d say I’m tall (6-foot-1), but in the past I felt short for my position. I played with Lauren Sanders a couple years ago, and she’s 6-5. Every day at the club level I felt short. But then I realized that height doesn’t really matter. I mean, it does, but there’s so many things you can do to overcome (a lack of height) — jump training, weight-lifting, learning to hit different shots. It’s not about size, but strategy. I still wish I was taller, and I want to get my vertical higher, but I live with it, and it’s fine.
Why have you had the success you’ve had?
I want to buy into what my coach is telling me to do, even if it’s different from what another coach has told me. Taking advice from so many different people has made me versatile in that aspect.
What would you like to study in college?
I’ve always loved the sciences. Nevada has a major called community health science, and that’s what I may end up pursuing. There’s so many opportunities down that path — I could go into public health, or go to grad school to become a physician’s assistant.
How did you get your interest in science?
My sophomore year I took a sports medicine class, and that piqued my interest. I took anatomy last year, and that interested me, too. I’m taking advanced molecular biotechnolgy this year, and that will be more science-y than the other two — it’s about finding solutions to different health crises.
What do you do in your free time?
I spend a lot of time with my family (father, Mark, mother, Leslie, and younger brother, Connor). I like being outdoors, and we go on a lot of hikes and walks. One of my favorite (spots) is Lake 22, but I’m not too particular about where I go. We like to travel, but we don’t do it too often. We went to Mexico (last month), and that was a fun, awesome experience. We went to Cabo San Lucas, a big tourist area, but we tried to stay outside of the big tourist spots. The weather was beautiful. We went snorkeling, kayaking, paddleboarding — we spent a lot of time on the water, basically.
How would you describe your personality?
I’d say I’m pretty reserved until you get to know me. I’m motivated and dedicated in volleyball and school. I’d like to think I’m kind. I’m introverted, but extroverted when I’m with friends.