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Freshman right-side hitter Bella Rittenberg of Penn volleyball. Credit: Anna Vazhaeparambil

The Daily Pennsylvanian sat down with freshman right-side hitter Bella Rittenberg of Penn volleyball to ask her 15 questions about her time so far on the team, her interests, and how her first few weeks as a Quaker have gone. Get ready to see Rittenberg at the next home volleyball game on Friday, Oct. 13 against Cornell. But first, here is what she had to say.

1. Can you introduce yourself?

Hi, my name is Bella. I am a nursing major, and I am from Temecula, Calif. 

2. How long have you been playing volleyball? What position do you play?

I have been playing volleyball for 13 years, starting when I was in elementary school. For the Penn volleyball team, I am a right side, which has also been my position for most of my volleyball career. However, I sometimes used to set.

3. What are the three best qualities in a teammate?

I think there are so many great qualities that teammates can have, but some of the most important ones are staying positive, being energetic and motivational, and caring. 

4. What are your main goals for this season?

My personal goals for the season are to get more comfortable and familiar with the team and being a student-athlete. My main goal for the team is I would love for us to make the final four [in the Ivy League] and go to the Ivy League Tournament. 

5. So far, what’s your favorite Penn volleyball memory?

My favorite Penn volleyball memory is that before every game we listen to music and dance to "Cotton Eye Joe" and "Footloose" to get our nerves out. Even this little thing has been such a bonding experience with me and the other girls.

6. What are some of your favorite hobbies?

My favorite hobbies outside of playing volleyball are reading and watching television. After playing volleyball and doing schoolwork, I need some chill time. 

7. What was the biggest challenge you have faced in volleyball?

Last season, I didn’t get as much front-row playing time. I was competing against an Oregon State commit for time on the court, and it was really difficult because — as much as I was trying — I wasn’t getting very much playing time. 

8. What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten from a coach?

The best advice I have ever gotten from a coach was "stop thinking and just play."

9. What are you most looking forward to in your next four years at Penn?

I am excited to learn more about nursing and do clinicals. I know I am going to get such amazing experience being a nursing major! 

10. What led you to play volleyball in college? 

I had been playing volleyball for so long, and I wanted to prolong it. Volleyball has taught me so much, and I just wasn’t ready to stop. 

11. How has traveling with the team been?

Traveling with the team has been so much fun. Everyone is sitting on the bus and chatting and making jokes with each other. 

12. So far, how have you balanced your time on the volleyball team with your academics and social life?

Time management has played a huge part in balancing school and volleyball. I try to use my time well and not procrastinate. On bus rides, I am doing homework or studying. Also, I try to talk to my teachers to ask for help if it gets too overwhelming. 

13. How has playing volleyball impacted your life?

Volleyball has taught me a lot about myself as a person on and off the court. It taught me how to be a team player and other important life skills. 

14. What’s your biggest challenge that you’ve faced being a student-athlete?

The biggest challenge that I have faced being a student-athlete is that I just try to be perfect. I want to get A's on all my assignments and do the best I can on the volleyball court. It’s hard juggling everything and being in a new environment. 

15. Have upperclassmen on the volleyball team given you advice that you necessarily wouldn’t have known?

The upperclassmen have taught me a lot! They tell me and the other freshmen to always introduce yourself to others since everyone is new! You just have to be the person to step up and talk to them.