Captain Mikayla Derochie ’17 has been a two-year starter for the women’s volleyball team. Last season, the setter turned in 520 assists to average 6.05 per set, while chipping in 29 kills and 19 total blocks for the ‘Cats. Off the court, Derochie studies Biology, is a member of Turner Eating House, and volunteers time with the Davidson Athletic Fund to support its donors. Derochie answered some questions to provide insight to her goals, drives, and interests.
How do you balance being a student athlete at Davidson, and how do you think this sets you apart from your peers?
You really have to learn how to manage your time. Any time that I am not in class or practice I have to use my time wisely, whether it is to get some studying done or catching up on some sleep from the night before. On top of that I think it is important that you make some time to spend with your friends, because in all the chaos of season and the semester, your friends are there to keep you grounded.
What do you believe your role on the team is? How do you encourage your teammates on and off the court? How do your values as a team lead to your team’s success?
I think my biggest role on the team this year is to be a strong and confident leader on the court. As a setter you have to run the plays and make the right decisions. My biggest goal this year is to have a consistent attitude so that I can manage any chaos on the court and lift my teammates up when they are down. I would say off and on the court I try to encourage my teammates by reminding them how fun the game of volleyball is. Sometimes in competition, I think a lot of us forget how fun it is to play the game. I try to direct everyone to focus on that instead of the stress that can arise from not playing our best. One of our go-to values this year is to have a relaxed, calm energy on the court while giving 100 percent 100 percent of the time. Our team is most successful when we are working hard and executing as a cohesive unit. The key to that cohesiveness is trusting and supporting one another.
What is your definition of success and how do you work to achieve it?
Success is when you execute your role and when you know that you have given it your all as a team and individually. I work to achieve it by preparing mentally and physically to execute the game plan as best as I can.
What attracted you to Davidson as opposed to other schools in your recruitment? What is your favorite Davidson volleyball memory?
I loved the tight community of Davidson students and athletes. The team and coach seemed genuine and they were all so welcoming. My favorite Davidson volleyball memory is definitely getting stuck in the hotel elevator with 18 people in Saint Louis last year. It was terrifying but a funny experience at the same time.
What are your ultimate goals as a Wildcat individually and as a team?
Ultimately, I would love for the team to win the A-10 tournament and go to the NCAA tournament.
Who motivates you and inspires you to play each day? What drives you?
My team. They inspire me everyday to work hard in practice so that I can contribute in whatever way to our success. I would say the passion for the game is what drives me. Everyday I am determined to improve just because I love the game of volleyball and I want to reach higher levels of play.
Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?
My favorite word is determination because I think you can accomplish anything if you are determined enough to do it.
What was the best advice you were ever given?
To dream big and reach for your highest goals because if you just barely miss them you won’t be disappointed.
Where do you see yourself after Davidson, and how do you feel your experience as an athlete impacts this vision?
After Davidson I aspire to play professionally. If that doesn’t work out then I’ll continue with grad school and possibly physical therapy school. Being a college athlete is already like having a job. I think this experience as an athlete will prepare me for a career because it has taught me how to efficiently manage my time, how to be a leader, and how to work with a team.