Anthony Stepanov, 21, is an outside hitter / opposite for the Pierce College men’s volleyball team and is majoring in kinesiology. He has been playing volleyball since his freshman year of high school. Stepanov had 10 kills , 11 total attacks and 11.5 points in last Wednesday’s game against Los Angeles Trade Tech College.
How does it feel being named POTW?
“It’s pretty special. I don’t mind being given a special name for something I do everyday, but it feels good that people notice and that people are given credit for something they work hard for. It’s pretty cool.”
What do you think about how the team has played so far this season?
“I think we’ve definitely been improving a lot more since the beginning of our season, but there’s always room for improvement regardless of how good of a team you have. Given the fact that I’ve gone to state my first year playing at Pierce, and this year not being that same team as it was when I first started, I pretty much set high expectations for this year’s team and we haven’t gotten there yet. But I definitely believe we can do that.”
What is your favorite memory while playing for Pierce?
“That would definitely be getting to the state semi-final my first year here. Being a freshman and given the fact that I was probably one of the best outside hitters in that division at that time, that was pretty awesome. It was a good feeling.”
Do you have any pre-game rituals?
“Oh yeah, plenty. My first pre-game ritual is that I always put tape on my index and ring finger on my right hand. I don’t know why. I just have a ritual to tape those two. Other rituals, normally if I’m hungry I’ll always have Dan’s Super Subs, favorite place to go. My third pre-game ritual is to just have my alone time in the locker room to just plant the seed and mentally prepare for whoever I’m about to face.”
What do you see or envision on the court when you’re playing?
“I envision multiple things I guess. During the play, because it happens point-by-point, I envision every point happening as if the ball was going to be given to me.”
What is the most crucial or stressful moment of the game for you?
“It would be staying mentally focused with my whole team throughout the whole game, because sometimes we’ll lose focus mid-game. That’s kind of why we kind of die down sometimes, and just keeping up the same positive energy throughout however many sets the game goes to. It’s tough to do that. I think that’s the most challenging thing for the team. But for me it would kind of be the same thing, keeping up my energy with everyone else. You’d be surprised, even though we’re yelling and celebrating every play, there’s different types of energy that go into volleyball that make the game work.”
Do you feel like your coaches and teammates rely on you since you’re an older player?
“I feel like maybe for certain plays at certain times in the game they might. But volleyball is probably the biggest team sport you could ever play. You can never rely on a certain player because that won’t get you anywhere. Having a strong team will always destroy an amazing player, and that’s one of the biggest mentalities that we have going into this season and with our coach. He really stresses that on us because we’re trying to be as strong as a unit, not as individuals. So that’s something we like to focus on.”