Sophomore defensive specialist and setter Maura Hamilton, a health and society major from St. Paul, Minn., led the women’s volleyball team to two consecutive home wins this past week.

Although she generally plays as a defensive specialist, Hamilton was forced into the setter role Thursday against Keuka College after injuries sidelined the first- and second-string setters.

Hamilton stepped up to the challenge, leading the team with 24 assists and five digs in the 3-0 shutout on Thursday and adding 64 more assists in two matches on Saturday.

In a game, your opponent might score many points in a row or your team may go on a long offensive run. What do you tell yourself during these times?
Volleyball’s a really vocal sport we give each other more encouragement and single people out more [during the first case]. When we’re on the run, we build off of each other’s excitement and confidence. We just don’t let the ball drop. If we just win this one point, then the tide will change. One point at a time.

What do you think is the biggest challenge an athlete must overcome?
The struggle to become better it’s hard, especially with school. Getting work done and traveling [for games] is time-consuming, so [the challenge is] not getting frustrated by outside things and being able to focus on playing the sport.

So does volleyball help or hurt your commitment to academics?
It actually helps. Even though it’s stressful, volleyball makes me become more organized and better with time.

If you hadn’t played volleyball at UR, how would your experience here be different?
Well, it would be way different since I’m really close with all the girls on the team and I see myself a lot as a volleyball player.

What would you tell somebody who had just started playing volleyball at UR?
Play because you love the sport and use it. You’re really lucky to play at this level, and it’s the last time you’ll be able to play like this. Spend as much time doing something you love.

Kravitz is a member of the class of 2012.

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