Sept. 28, 2016
By Jane Horvat ’18
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — A senior set to graduate in 2017 with a degree in marketing through the Mendoza College of Business, middle blocker Katie Higgins has a lot to look forward to this year, including a promising 2016 season. The Kearney, Nebraska native has helped lead her team to an 11-3 start on the year, the best in recent Irish history.
Thus far, the 2016 team has started ACC play with a 2-0 record and has swept both the Golden Dome Invitational and the Art Carmichael Invitational, going 3-0 in five of the six matches over the two tournaments. With her season off to such a strong start, Higgins has taken a moment to look back and reflect on what she has learned during her time at Notre Dame.
What do you think is different about this year’s team than those of previous years?
KH: “This team is beyond any other team on every level, be it one of focus, skill, or technique. It’s shown already in our matches. We have a better vibe and a better team culture this year.”
What makes this senior season special for you?
KH: “It’s the moment that your whole career has been leading up to. You can give everything you have for one last season before it’s over.”
What advice would you give to the freshmen on how to approach the season?
KH: “I would tell them to be ready to make a lot of changes, to go in with an open mind and to be ready to work hard because it pays off eventually.”
How has collegiate volleyball shaped the person you have become?
KH: “It’s definitely made me a mentally stronger person. My focus and discipline apply not only on the court but in the rest of my life. You learn a lot of time management skills in order to get everything done. It’s an ability and responsibility that comes with the job.”
What would you tell a recruit who is considering coming to Notre Dame in order to get her to come here?
KH: “I’d tell her that this place is special. It’s unlike any other place, especially off the court. The traditions that we have here and the experiences she’ll gain through volleyball and on the academic side are worth it, and they don’t exist anywhere else in the country.”
What lessons do you see yourself taking away from your experiences these past four years?
KH: “One of the quotes that Jim [McLaughlin] always uses is ‘the mind is the athlete and the body is the means’ so I’ve learned that if you have the right mindset you can accomplish anything.”
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Jane Horvat is a student assistant of Fighting Irish Media. She is an English and Romance Languages Major at the University of Notre Dame. A member of the Glynn Family Honors Program, Horvat will graduate in May of 2018.