The Daily Pennsylvanian sat down with Abigail Reid, Penn volleyball’s starting libero — an honorable mention All-Ivy selection last season — right before the team left for their game against Yale to ask her 15 questions about her goals, her go-to Wawa order, and pre-game rituals.
1. Could you please introduce yourself?
Hi, my name is Abby Reid. I'm a sophomore libero for the UPenn volleyball team.
2. So what got you into volleyball?
My mom actually made me try out for volleyball in sixth grade because I hated it — I tried in fourth grade and I didn't like it. I was a soccer, basketball girl. Then my mom was like, “I really think you could be good at it.” So she made me try out, and I supposedly made it, and I was really bad. That's kind of how I got into it.
3. So you've really dominated the back row since you came to Penn. What do you think fuels your success?
I’ve always been super competitive. Coming here, I wanted to make a statement my freshman year and make my presence known at Penn and in the Ivy League. Looking at other liberos on other courts and on other teams and seeing how good they are makes me want to be better: I want to be better than her. I want to out-dig her. I want to lead the Ivy League in whatever statistic. I came in last year and this year really still wanting to prove myself. Don't sleep on me. That motivated me to be better than the liberos out there, especially in the Ivy.
4. What do you like most about being a libero?
What's so special about being libero is that you are captain of the defense. You run that back row, and I really like having that responsibility; being able to take charge and telling everyone where to hit, where's the receive route, where seams are. I also like that people turn to me — they trust me, they believe in me, and they're passing next to me. They know we're [going to be] fine.
5. Why did you choose to come to Penn?
[Coach Meredith Schamun] was a huge reason why I chose Penn. She was recruiting me from Villanova, and then brought me here — within all the other schools, Penn was definitely the hardest pursuer. Also, you can't really pass up on an Ivy League education.
6. How do you feel about your upcoming season?
I'm really excited. [Ivy League play] just started; it's really early, and we had two big nights against Princeton that obviously didn't come out [as] wins. But I think taking it the five is a really good sign for the future. Overall, we are a much better team compared to last year, especially with our mindset and mentality. We're going to fight, fight, fight: we're going to win, [and] we're going to come out on top. Big things are ahead for Penn volleyball.
7. Do you have any fun pregame rituals?
As a team, we like dance parties in the locker room; we try and find a song of the year. Last year, it was "Addicted To My Ex," which is such a crazy song. This year, it's "Cotton Eye Joe" or "Footloose." People do different things — some people lock in or some people dance. I think we all just dance [to] get the nerves out and get our bodies going and flowing.
8. What music have you been listening to recently?
That’s a good one. I really like Taylor Swift — she is my favorite artist of all time. Christian Kuria is also a really good artist. And then obviously, SZA. But definitely Taylor Swift; “folklore” is on repeat right now.
9. So what is a perfect day at Penn or in Philly like for you?
Probably a game day; game days are so much fun. I love waking up, and then I have recitations, then we always come [together] for pregame meals and have a fun locker room. Just getting to be with my team in that environment is really fun. [And] there's like nothing like playing in the [Palestra] on Fridays and Saturdays — so playing, I think that's a perfect day.
10. What are some things you do for fun around campus?
Gosh … Me and my friends get food a lot. We'll go into different places around campus. Hummus Grill is the place to be — I love Hummus Grill — and Pattaya.
11. Do you have any hot takes?
Mint chocolate chip ice cream is good. So many people hate on it, and I don't get why. I love mint-flavored things. So many people hate it because it tastes like gum — like, no, mint is so good.
12. What's your go to Wawa order?
I always get a BODYARMOR. And then I get a Gogo squeeZ. And then a Red Bull. The coconut Red Bull [is] probably my go-to. A lot of drinks; I gotta stay hydrated.
13. Is there a coach or athlete you look up to? Why?
There's two that I look up to: Morgan Hentz, who was a Stanford libero, and Kayla Banwarth, who was the Nebraska libero a while ago and was on the Olympic team. [Hentz] won the national championship three times in her career at Stanford, and I would just watch her highlights over and over again as a way to mirror her. I watched [Banwarth’s serve receive] on repeat all throughout high school and I'm starting to do it again, because she just has the most stable serve receive I’ve ever seen in my life. I actually got to talk to Kayla Banwarth — she was the Ole Miss coach, and I was getting recruited by them, so I got to FaceTime her, and [that] was actually the biggest full circle [of] my life.
14. What is your advice to young volleyball players at Penn?
To have a really positive mindset. It's not always easy, especially when you're in a tough season or tough games, or even moments in games where maybe you're struggling or not feeling your best. So always have a positive mindset.
15. What is your favorite volleyball memory while you've been at Penn?
It would have to be when we beat Cornell in five at home. It was such a long season of losing, unfortunately, and we really wanted this win. We wanted all of our wins, but we were fighting for our lives in that season. I remember, we were on the fifth set ... they served it, they swung, and they hit it at me and I dug it and then [Anna Shohfi] set Abby, and we swung and scored in the court. I remember just like, falling to the ground, [and] we all ran around and hugged each other. I literally started crying, which is crazy, because I don't cry. It was nice, winning with your seniors, and obviously beating another Ivy opponent — the rivalry is insane. You have a chip on your shoulder because it's Yale, or it's Columbia. That was probably my favorite memory.