Tristan Tucci has been involved with volleyball from a young age, and now the senior libero is making the most out of her final year as a member of the West Orange High volleyball team — of which she was named the senior captain of before the season started.
How did you first get into volleyball?
I’ve been around volleyball my whole life — my mom played, and my sister played. When I was (4 years old), I remember (being) in the gym at Leesburg High School preparing with the volleyball players. My mom used to coach, and my sister used to play on the team. I started playing competitive club at 7 years old, and I’ve been playing ever since.
What has kept you motivated to stay in the sport for so long?
I honestly just really do love playing volleyball. When I get into a game, it’s just fun, and I have a great time. I don’t even remember anything else besides what I’m doing on the court. I love the intensity of wanting to win so bad and getting so excited getting a point and being with my friends.
What is your favorite part about playing libero? What’s the part you hate the most?
I feel like I’m kind of a leader on my team in the sense that I’m on the court, and I’m leading the team — “Remember to do this,” and “Hey, we’re going here.” I’m constantly talking to the girls and trying to keep us engaged and keep us going — I think that’s truly one of my favorite parts. I think the worst thing about being libero is having to do free-ball passing in practice. I cannot tell you the amount of times that I’ve had to sit there and pass some free balls so my middles and outside can get their hitting reps. One time, I passed 1,000 free balls.
Since you’ve been at West Orange, is there a highlight moment that stands out?
I think if I go 20 years into the future and I look back at my time at West Orange, I’ll always remember when we went to Arizona for a tournament — it was probably the most fun I’ve had in a travel tournament ever.
What has the biggest change that you’ve seen in yourself since your freshman year?
I think just truly stepping up as a leader. I think when I was a freshman, I knew I could run court and knew what I was doing, but I also didn’t want to step on people’s toes. When I moved to West Orange my sophomore year, Tori Baum was the libero — amazing libero, I love her — but she was the leader of the team. I looked up to her because she knew how to run the team — she was the head lady, and I was like, “That is going to be me.” I think that I really did grow into that role, especially this year. I feel like that is me.
After you graduate, what’s the plan?
I haven’t decided yet, but I’m weighing out my options — I have some offers … just leaving it to decide when I want to decide. I haven’t really picked where I want to go yet. If I tell you one thing about myself, it’s that I’m a very free spirit — “You’ll figure it out when you get there, and you’ll cross that road when it comes.” That’s just how I kind of take life.