Sophomore Gwyn Jones put together a solid freshman campaign for the Auburn volleyball team in 2016, earning SEC All-Freshman recognition and recording double-digit kills in all but two SEC matches. Now, the middle blocker/opposite from Greenville, Ind., looks to build on her success and bring the team to a higher level in 2017.
Q: What has it been like to see new people come in?
A: It’s awesome. I love knowing where they are, because I was just there last year, so I can help them get through the beginning phase of college. I help them as best as I can because I don’t want them to make the same freshmen mistakes as I did, and I assume everyone does. They add a new dynamic to the team. The freshmen give us a different spark that we can use this year. We absolutely love going into practice and really getting to know them. It’s been fun getting to know the new team because each year the team is different. I’m really excited to see where we can go this year because I see the freshmen growing, learning and maturing with each practice.
Q: What are your personal and team goals for this year?
A: Personally, I don’t have a goal for myself aside from giving 110 percent every single day, during every single workout or practice. If I give 110 percent, it just automatically adds to the success of the team. And for the team it’s always to make it as far as we can go, but in order to do that we have to work well as a team. I think that we have already established the chemistry part and we need to push each other in practice every day.
Q: How do you plan on building on your success, as a freshman, this year?
A: I think that for me to build on my success from last year I have to give 110 percent at practice. It’s been one of the only goals I’ve really given myself, because I know that if I do give my part it will benefit the team in a way.
Q: What’s the biggest change from the team last year and the team now?
A: The good thing is the upperclassmen are being patient with the freshmen, helping them learn the ropes and teaching them to have each other’s back. The biggest change is the big group of newcomers. The team standards are still the same. It’s just that with this new group of freshmen the team chemistry shifts just a little bit. But, I think that we’ve already beaten the challenge of building the team chemistry. The team works well together and that’s the one thing that a team needs to thrive on to be successful as a team. I mean I think that any coach you pull off the street will say that team chemistry is the number one thing a team needs to have to be successful. You can have a bunch of talent on a team but if you don’t have any team chemistry the team won’t be as successful.
Q: What’s the biggest difference between Indiana and Alabama?
A: The climate is the biggest difference for me honestly. It’s just so humid down here whereas up north it doesn’t get as hot or as humid. Another thing that stood out to me, when I first came down, was the southern hospitality. Everyone I met or ran into always offered a smile and they were so nice. It’s been a nice change and I love that Auburn emphasizes family because when I came down here, I don’t know if it’s just a southern thing, but I truly felt like I stepped into a big family down here. I don’t feel too far from home and I don’t really get that homesick.
Q: What are some of the lessons you learned as a freshman that you will carry with you the rest of your college career?
A: I’ve learned that hard works beats everything, including talent. I’m not just talking about hard work in my sport, but I’m also talking about hard work off the court when I’m doing school. I’ve learned to use all the resources that I have, as a student-athlete, to my advantage. Everything that is provided by the athletic department is put in place so that the students here can be successful and have successful careers both as athletes and as students.