Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Five Questions with Former Greendale Prep Star Morgan Mutranowski

Mutranowski, Morgan

In the early days of the blog, we did an occasional feature called "Five Questions," in which we interviewed someone with connections to Wisconsin volleyball. Today, that feature returns. Specifically, we asked Morgan Mutranowski (Greendale '09) about her four-year collegiate volleyball experience. After a successful playing career at Greendale, Morgan went on to play libero for Dowling College, where she earned East Coast Conference libero of the year accolades her senior season. Here's what we asked -- and how she answered.
  1. When did you start playing competitive volleyball and when did you first realize you might want to play at the collegiate level? I started playing competitively in fifth grade at St. Mary’s Hales Corners, actually because my parents “strongly encouraged” me to play volleyball instead of soccer. I first realized I wanted to play at the collegiate level during my 18s club season, which was easily my favorite year of organized volleyball. Once faced with the realization that I might never play again, I ached for the opportunity to continue my career.
  2. Tell us about your time at Dowling. What are you studying and what were your most memorable volleyball and non-volleyball moments? I am graduating with a degree in Media Communications and a minor in Psychology. Media Communications has been right up my alley, and my studies helped me land an internship at O, The Oprah Magazine this spring. My time at Dowling has been more than I could have hoped for. In my four years here, we’ve made it to the NCAA Tournament 4 times, including an Elite Eight and Final Four appearance. What’s funny is that now, looking back, the success and wood trophies aren’t what I remember most. My teammates are really what made my career memorable, because they were friends who became family. My most memorable volleyball moment was making it to the Elite Eight my freshman year (2009). We had just beaten our rival, University of Bridgeport and there's nothing better than beating them. We were all so excited and I don’t think I’ve ever felt happier than in that moment. Non-volleyball, I will never forget the teammates I had my freshman through junior year. We would be at each other’s throats during practice because we were so competitive, but once we stepped off the court, we were inseparable. We always had each other’s back, no matter what. And I am so thankful to have had that experience with those women.
  3. Tell us about the recruiting process from your perspective. Specifically, what made you choose Dowling and what were your thoughts about playing at a school in New York City? In all honesty, I wasn’t even sure if I was going to play somewhere. I was at the Hoosier Qualifier in Indianapolis when my coach-to-be saw me play and later contacted my club coach to offer me a scholarship. I had always dreamed of living in New York City because of my love of media and when I went on an official visit to Dowling, it seemed like a perfect fit. I was a little nervous to up and move from small town Wisconsin to New York, but it ended up being completely worth it and I am so glad I took that risk.
  4. Which parts of your college volleyball experience were better than what you were expecting and which were more challenging? Juggling school and volleyball proved to be an extraordinarily difficult feat. Volleyball was all consuming, but we were always expected to attend class and keep our grades up. We’d get back from an away trip and have class at 8:30 in the morning, which was never easy. Our coach helped us stay on the right track by checking in frequently with our professors and it really helped. I actually did better academically at Dowling than I ever had in high school. Once I learned how to manage my time effectively,  everything became easier. But the experience as a whole ended up being better than I could have ever expected. I got to play the game I love with awesome teammates for four more years and I will always be grateful for that. The feeling of winning a championship over a rival and celebrating with my teammates. It's something I'll hold onto forever.
  5. What would you tell a high schooler who's thinking about pursuing a college volleyball dream? DO IT. Take that leap of faith and go for it, even if you’re scared. If you really love the game and want to keep playing, you absolutely have to do it. If you’re as lucky as I was, you’ll gain more than just the game. You’ll get to share bonds with teammates you wouldn’t have otherwise known, push yourself to places you never thought you’d go, and get four years chock-full of memories. Not only that, but you’ll learn so much about the real world. You’ll learn how to adapt to a coach you may not always agree with, how to work with a group to achieve a common goal and how to manage your time in the most successful manner. These facets will be crucial once graduation beckons and you are thrown into the workplace, I can assure you. I’ll leave you with this: I am so glad I grabbed the opportunity placed in front of me and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Thanks, Morgan. We'll try to make this a regular feature again.

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