COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – On Thursday afternoon libero Keelie Arneson and outside hitter Leah Perri will head to Colorado Springs, Colorado to compete for a spot on Team USA at the USA Volleyball Tryouts from February 19-21.
Arneson, who followed head coach Hugh Hernesman to Clemson from Northwestern State, is excited at the opportunity to compete with some of the best volleyball players in the country. The Tomball, Texas native likes where she is from a physical and mental standpoint. Now it’s just a matter of putting everything together when tryouts begin.
“I’m really excited to try out, It’s something I’ve really wanted to do for a long time and the fact that I’ve gotten the opportunity to do it this year is amazing,” said Arneson, one of the NCAA’s all-time leaders in career digs. “I’m not going into it with high expectations, but I’m just going out there to try my hardest and I want to walk off knowing that I gave it my all and be happy with the way I played.
“I’ve been working out every day while doing rehab for my ankle. I’ve been practicing with the team and getting some extra reps in with Coach Steph (Hernesman). I’m feeling pretty good and I feel like I’m ready. I’m just really excited to see the competition and play with some of the best athletes in the U.S. I’m also looking forward to getting to work with Leah (Perri). She’s one of my great friends, so that’s really exciting.”
Perri, a three-time Academic All-Conference recipient and All-ACC Freshman in 2013, is excited about the opportunity to compete alongside Arneson against some stellar competition. 231 student-athletes from 88 colleges across the country are going to be at the tryout, and Perri is excited for the opportunity to compete at one of the highest levels in volleyball.
“There are girls from the top of all different conferences across the country, so it’s really exciting to get in there and play with them,” Perri said. “A lot of girls that will be there have been to the national championship game or the semifinals, and it’ll be fun to see how well you can play against top talent.”
“Keelie and I are just going to play our best and see what can come from it. I’m really excited for Keelie, and I want to be there to support her in this big moment. I’m really excited to get into the competition. The girls there are amazing, so it’s going to be fun to have some good playing time. I think it’ll be a great experience to see the different skills they use and how they think about different aspects of the game. We’re both just really excited for this opportunity.”
Arneson has certainly worked on improving several aspects of her game, and as she and Perri begin tryouts, confidence will be key for her throughout this process.
“I’ve worked on different aspects of my game like my serve receive, but staying confident the whole time and not being so hard on myself will be important for me as well,” Arneson said. “That’s one thing I’ve done in the past, and it’s kind of affected my game in a negative way, so I’m going to try and stay confident throughout this process.”
USA Volleyball will stream the entire tryout with coverage beginning at 2:00 p.m. MT on Friday. Coverage extends into social media as well, as USA Volleyball will debut its Snapchat account (@USAVolleyball) on Friday. You can also follow the action on Twitter and Instagram @USAVolleyball or by using the hashtag #USAVTryout.
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