I’ve done this with a few LIU Brooklyn student/athletes already, but this will be the first with a St. Francis Brooklyn student. Up first is sophomore Kelly O’Halloran, a member of the women’s volleyball team.
O’Halloran is a 19-year-old communications/journalism major who is originally from Tallahassee, Florida where she went to Lincoln High School. In high school, she was a four-year letter winner and co-captain of her volleyball team. She earned All-Big Bend First Team honors twice and her 884 assists as a senior is a school record.
Brooklyn Eagle Sports: Let’s start by getting to know you. Where are you from?
Kelly O’Halloran: Tallahassee. It’s the state capitol of Florida, but where I’m from is a small town. There is Florida State University though and for a small town there are a few things to do. It’s fun.
BES: Why did you come to St. Francis College?
KOH: I was recruited. I’ve been playing volleyball since I was nine so I had a lot of coaches contacting me. I eventually came here on a visit in February of my senior year and I knew right away that it was a perfect fit. I loved the area, Brooklyn Heights is beautiful, and I love the family atmosphere of the neighborhood.
BES: What was your visit like? What did you do while you were here?
KOH: I stayed with three of the girls from the team. They were so welcoming and nice, coach was great too and they showed me everything. Coming from a small town it was a totally different world. I loved it and just wanted to branch out of my comfort zone.
BES: Were there any other schools that you were strongly considering?
KOH: I was looking at a couple of schools in Florida, especially Gulf Coast State College, which isn’t too far from my home. That’s probably where I would have ended up if I didn’t come to St. Francis.
BES: What was it about St. Francis that made you choose it over Gulf Coast?
KOH: The volleyball is better. This is Division-I which is a major draw. It was more about the area though. I was really intrigued when I was here. It’s New York City. Being a girl from a small town in Florida, I just thought that it was an opportunity of a lifetime and one that I couldn’t pass up.
BES: You mentioned that you started playing volleyball at the age of nine. Can you tell me about that?
KOH: I started playing club volleyball at the age of nine and when I got older I played in middle school and high school. We played locally, never going too far, a couple of hours from home. As I got older my club team played all over the place, we went to Dallas, Texas and all over the country. That’s actually how I met Micah Acoba (St. Francis’ volleyball coach), I was in a qualifier in Baltimore and coach saw me.
BES: Were you immediately interested in St. Francis after meeting him?
KOH: I wasn’t really interested until after I took my visit here. Before that I was in contact with a lot of coaches, but coach Acoba was one that I took seriously.
BES: What got you into volleyball at such a young age?
KOH: My older sister Meagan played volleyball and I always went to her games when i was little. It just started from there. It got to the point where I was always playing volleyball in the house. My mom was also a coach at middle school back home.
BES: Was your mom your first coach?
KOH: She coached my sisters and I in middle school. It was fun. She was kind of just learning volleyball through me and my sisters and now she’s a really good coach. Now she’s like a big coach in the area. It’s funny because she never played in college or anything and now she’s really good.
BES: What was the transition of moving here like?
KOH: It was really tough for me because I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. At first I was really home sick and couldn’t wait for Thanksgiving to go back home. That ended quickly though and I was fine. After that every time I went home I was always looking forward to coming back to Brooklyn.
BES: What was the transition like for you on the court going from high school to college volleyball?
KOH: It was definitely a big jump. I’m a short volleyball player, 5-foot-4, but I had a great freshman season. I ended up seeing a lot of court time. I had a couple of injuries, a problem with my left knee, but I was out for just a couple of games and I bounced back very quickly.
Its a whole different level of the game than I’ve ever seen before. Meeting a lot of my teammates, some who are foreign , and who play so differently than the way they play back home, it’s something that I’ll remember my whole life.
BES: What happened to your knee? How long were you out for?
KOH: I tore my LCL doing workouts. We were doing agility stuff and my knee just gave out on me. I’m not sure how many games I missed, but it was probably two or three weeks. It was really minor though.
BES: What do you expect out of the volleyball team this year?
KOH: Things are definitely looking up for us. Our returning players are back at it again. We’re trying to work hard to build our program up. Our freshman are good, we’ve been working hard all month. Hopefully our hard work will pay off.
BES: Are there any games on the schedule this year that you are particularly looking forward to?
KOH: I’m looking forward to all of them really, but the LIU Brooklyn/St. Francis games are always really fun to play in.
BES: What’s your favorite thing about Brooklyn?
KOH: Surprisingly, I really like walking to school. I never thought I would like getting around without my car. I like living close to the promenade too. It’s so nice to go down there to clear my head when its’ stressful. The area is so nice. I really enjoy living here.I love going to Brooklyn Bridge Park, the New York City skyline. I’m still amazed at it even though I’ve been there 100 times.
BES: Do you have a favorite restaurant in Brooklyn?
KOH: <Laughs> No. I’m on a college budget so I don’t really eat out that much.
BES: Do you have any plans so stay in volleyball after college?
KOH: I don’t think i’ll continue as a player, but I would love to one day become a volleyball coach. That’s my dream job to stay in the game. I’ve been playing since nine and I practice every day. I can’t imagine my life without volleyball so I’ll have to stay involved somehow.
Thank you so much to Kelly for taking the time to speak with me for this interview and thanks to David Gansell, director of athletic communications at St. Francis Brooklyn, for helping me to put this together. I expect this to become a weekly thing for Brooklyn Eagle Sports so check back next week for another Q&A with a St. Francis Brooklyn student-athlete.