Name: Paige Pickering
School: Montini, senior
Why she was selected: Pickering had eight digs and eight kills, including her 1,000th career kill, in Montini’s 25-17, 25-20 win over Mother McAuley.
She was voted by readers as the Suburban Life Athlete of the Week. Here is her interview with Sports Editor Joshua Welge.
Welge: Did you know that you were close to 1,000 career kills? What does that milestone mean?
Pickering: They told me before the game that I needed a few more but didn’t tell me how many. We got out of a timeout and they said “one more” and I didn’t really know what they meant. I got the kill, everybody started going crazy, and it was like, “Oh, my God.” To me, it’s huge. The number 1,000 is just big in general. It’s a great accomplishment. It shows that all my hard work has paid off.
Welge: How big was it to beat McAuley?
Pickering: First of all, beating them in two [sets] was pretty insane. Last year, we beat them at their place and they beat us at our place, but this year we were out for blood. We were beating them, we didn’t care how we did it. We just played so well together, everything was so smooth, it was pretty awesome for the program.
Welge: What other matches stand out this year?
Pickering: We beat Benet at the Wheaton North Tournament. That was a huge game for us, and we beat them pretty easily, too, which has been rarely done. Definitely beating Benet was the second-biggest game. Also beating [Lyons Township] twice was a huge accomplishment.
Welge: What’s your thoughts with the playoffs starting next week?
Pickering: We’ve really been pushing the idea of going downstate [to the state finals]. That hasn’t been done for a while for Montini volleyball [2014 was the last time]. We know it will take a lot of hard work and hustle. We’re basically just preparing for whatever comes our way. We want to be the strongest team, the team that has the most endurance. We don’t want teams to beat us in that category.
Welge: What’s your college plans?
Pickering: I committed to play at Cincinnati as of last weekend. My sister goes there. I’m familiar with the campus. When we visit for family weekends, I cannot find a con about the school; everything is perfect for me. I went on an official visit a couple weekends ago, met with the volleyball program, the girls are awesome. It seemed like the perfect fit.