The Daily Pennsylvanian asked Maddie McGregor of Penn volleyball 15 questions about her sport, her time at Penn, and her life overall. Here's what the sophomore had to say.
1. Can you introduce yourself? Where are you from? Which school are you in and what are you majoring in?
My name is Maddie McGregor, and I’m from Wilmette, Il. I am a sophomore majoring in psychology and communications with a minor in healthcare management in the College.
2. When did you first start playing volleyball? What position do you usually play?
I first started playing volleyball when I was 12. I used to play in the middle, but once I stopped growing, I started to play mainly on the right side.
3. Why did you choose to play at Penn? Do you like or regret your decision so far?
I chose to play at Penn because I loved the team chemistry and family environment of the team I sensed during my unofficial visit, and having the opportunity to play in the Palestra for all of our home games is amazing. I am very happy with my decision and feel Penn is the perfect fit for me.
4. What is the current status of the volleyball season this year? Have you started practicing yet?
Our season for fall 2020 was canceled due to the pandemic and as of now, our season for fall 2021 is on track. I hope we can have a season that will be as normal as possible. We have been practicing regularly throughout the week and lifting weights twice a week, and we have a scrimmage coming up on April 1. As of now, we are just setting the foundation so we can be ready to go for the fall.
5. How has the volleyball team coped with the pandemic this year?
I think we’ve done a good job staying in touch with each other and trying to do as many team-bonding activities as possible to stay connected while staying safe. We also learned a lot from other sports teams at Penn on how they stay connected during the pandemic. We have regular meetings, lots of group activities, and we used to play "Among Us" a lot in the fall. Definitely glad to be back on campus and practicing.
6. What has been your favorite moment while you were playing on the team?
It’s hard to pick just one; there have been so many. A lot of my favorite moments are from traveling with the team and rooming with another girl on the team and hanging out in the hotel as a freshman, and I thought that was a fun way to get to know team members. I miss the warmup routine, and the locker room hype-up before every match — really just game days in general.
7. What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming season?
I am most looking forward to seeing the current freshmen and incoming freshmen coming in and having them go through their first season, and am excited for the preseason and season to begin. We have been practicing really hard this spring in hopes of winning the Ivy League title, so I’m looking forward to winning games and getting a ring.
8. As a sophomore captain, how has your role been different from previous years?
When I was a freshman, I spent a lot of time looking up to the captains and learning from them. Some of them have been very big inspirations to me. Now, with having the role of being a captain, I try not to change my personality too much, since I believe I was chosen because of it. I try to be a clear communicator between the team and the coaching staff, and I try my best to make sure that every voice on the team is being heard and valued equally by the coaching staff. Also, during the pandemic, I try to connect everyone to each other to improve mental health, which I consider a big priority for our team. It’s an honor to be a captain and represent all the girls on the team.
9. Do you have any pre-game rituals?
I don’t have any superstitions, but I try to visualize myself playing in the game the night before and just before the game. As a team, we have our own routine where we all come back from our individual routines and listen to music and get hyped up in the locker room.
10. What is your favorite thing about Penn’s campus?
My favorite place to study are the GSRs in the Perelman Economics building. I also love the Biopond area because it is very calming down there. I also love just walking down Locust.
11. Do you have a favorite professional athlete or team?
All female athletes are inspirations to me. Right now, my favorite athlete is Naomi Osaka. I love that she is not only amazing at tennis but stays humble and uses her platform to promote social justice issues. For teams, I love all my Chicago teams — the Blackhawks, Cubs, the Bulls, and we don’t really talk about the Bears anymore.
12. Did you pick up any new hobbies during quarantine?
Not any that I stuck with out of quarantine, but I have a younger sister and she was really big on TikTok, so I learned a few of the TikTok dances to do them with her, but being a TikTok influencer is not my calling in life.
13. How have you found online learning to be last semester and this semester so far? Are you excited for a return to in-person learning this fall?
I am definitely excited to return to in-person learning. I miss sitting in classrooms, making friends in class, and walking to class on Locust. Last semester, all my classes were asynchronous, and this year, they were all synchronous. I prefer asynchronous classes more because I feel that I can learn at my own pace. Right now, it’s been a tough and challenging year and motivation is kind of low with everything that is going on but we only have a little bit of the semester left so that is good.
14. If you had 24 hours to do whatever you wanted in Philadelphia, what would you do?
I would love to have a Saturday game day where we play at 5 p.m. I would have a nice sleep-in, my parents come into town, and we would go get breakfast at Sabrina’s (a place on Drexel’s campus), watch film, get ready for the game, and win. After, I would celebrate with the team, and would go get dinner with my family and would try a new restaurant, and would go get dessert at Kiwi, my favorite frozen yogurt place.
15. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I really want to go to New Zealand. My cousin lives there, and it looks so beautiful. I really miss traveling and exploring nature.
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