Five questions with Jaila Tolbert

Editor’s note: Every Wednesday throughout the offseason, we’ll catch up with volleyball student-athletes for five questions.

Jaila Tolbert | Jr. | RS | Minneapolis, Minnesota

Q: You had your best season yet last fall. How did you get into a rhythm last year so well?

TOLBERT: “I think last season presented a new opportunity for me to step into a leadership role. With a couple seasons of experience at the middle blocker position, I was able to quickly make that transition to the right side. I knew this position would allow me to get my hands on a few more balls and become a bigger threat, but ultimately, I would have to thank both my passers and setters for getting me comfortable and in rhythm.”

Q: Your performance against NC State, a career-high 22 kills, was arguably your best match of the season. What do you remember about that match and being in the zone?

TOLBERT: “Despite the outcome, that match was a fun one. I vividly remember wanting to get set every ball because I had so much confidence I'd find the court and put it away. My team and Rhegan [Mitchell] really trusted me and it definitely opened my eyes to my own potential. All in all, it was a great game for us and showed us how close we are to beating some of the ranked teams in our conference.”

Q: Heading into your senior year, what are one or two things you have been working on this offseason to improve your game?

TOLBERT: “I'm looking forward to doing everything I can to make my last season of VT Volleyball my best yet. This spring, I'm working on my defensive movements, both blocking and digging. Next season, I'm hoping I'll be able to play solid for six rotations to give my team a different look and more offensive options. I've also been working on staying aggressive and cutting down my mindless errors; as long as we make teams earn their points, I'll be satisfied.”

Q: After getting to go to Indianapolis this past January, what's next you with your position on the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC)?

TOLBERT: “Unfortunately, my last year will also be my last term serving on DI SAAC. Moving forward we will be discussing the current legislative cycle and seeing what gets passed by conferences and the NCAA. Our 2018-19 agenda will also discuss and set sometime soon, so we can look towards the future of intercollegiate athletics and improving student-athlete lives.”

Q: You mentioned yesterday that your phone was blowing up following the news of you making the U.S. Women's Collegiate National Team. Given the positive response from family, friends and fans, how did that make you feel?

TOLBERT: “Honestly, I was a little on top of the world. I didn't entirely expect this outcome, but I feel extremely motivated now that I have this incredible opportunity. My friends and family have been there for me through every hardship and milestone in my life, so I’m pretty excited to share this moment with them and everyone else. I've heard from so many people in our community about this honor and I can't believe all the support behind me and our program – it has been very overwhelming!”

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