Kelsey Robinson in action at the net against Brazil.
Lincoln, Nebraska, USA, June 11, 2019 - Kelsey Robinson had a stand-out season for Team USA last year in the inaugural FIVB Volleyball Nations League, filling at libero to shore up the passing game. Her position switch helped propel the Americans to the VNL title last year.
Quick links - Volleyball:
FIVB.com - Volleyball Nations League
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Now in 2019, Robinson has returned to her normal position of outside hitter. She returned to that position following the international season while playing for VakifBank in Turkey, and that resulted in VakifBank winning the Turkish domestic league title and a deep run into the European Champions League.
Robinson returned to USA’s roster last week after sitting out the first two weeks, and she felt right at home. She and her American teammates were competing in Lincoln, Nebraska, the city where she played for the local University of Nebraska as a senior in college. Robinson took time out of her training schedule to answer a few questions.
You have just rejoined the USA team after taking a break from the pro season. How easy is it to come back into the mix with your teammates who have been playing together in the first two weeks of the VNL?
Kelsey Robinson: I think our USA team does a great job of creating a culture that’s positive. Whether you are a veteran or a rookie, we all approach playing for USA with the same attitude. It’s always nice to learn new faces and players. I’m looking forward to playing with new players and some I’ve played alongside for years.USA won VNL last year in its inaugural year. What was your favorite memory from last year’s event?
Kelsey Robinson: I just loved how special the group we had there was. Everyone was so positive and gave everything for the team. Winning a seven-week tournament after just finishing a pro season of eight months and having one day in between was a sweet victory after such a mentally and physically draining tournament.
What are your personal ambitions for this year’s VNL?
Kelsey Robinson: I’m looking forward to learning and having the chance to represent USA. Nothing is guaranteed and being able to represent our country is always an honour for me.What are you doing to prepare for the Olympic qualifier here in the United States and ultimately the 2020 Olympic Games?
Kelsey Robinson: We are training every day and always looking to be inches better in the sport.You are producing a video blog series that has become popular on YouTube. What are some of the things you feature in your vlogs and what do you want to accomplish overall with the vlog?
Kelsey Robinson: I mainly feature volleyball and the daily life of being a pro. I would love to grow the sport and give more people an idea of what we do as professionals. I think in the USA, there is a big disconnect in college volleyball and pros because a majority of it happens overseas. If I can be the start of bridging that gap it would be an amazing accomplishment.
What is one lesson that you have learned from Karch Kiraly as your coach that sticks out in your mind?
Kelsey Robinson: He has taught me how to have patience and how to be a student of the game. We are constantly working on being better versions of ourselves as players and people. I’m grateful for all he has done for me and his belief in me.Who are your favourite teammates with USA?
Kelsey Robinson: I love all my teammates, new and old. I’ve been extremely blessed to play with people who are incredibly talented. I was awestruck when I first had a chance to come to the gym and I continue to feel that way every day. These women are strong and gifted and it’s an honour to play alongside them.You have played with several international stars in your pro career who you have become friends with aside from USA teammates. If you could select an international dream team to play with, who would be on that roster?
Kelsey Robinson: Opposite:
Lonneke SloetjesOutside Hitter:
Maja OrnjenovicDo you have any superstitions or habits before matches?
Kelsey Robinson: Can’t post on social media day of the game – haha, we always lose and so it just can’t happen. Otherwise, I need sleep and lots of it & probably coffee!