By: Amanda Ronan, Auburn Media Relations
Last year during her freshman season at Northeastern, Shaina White had a successful campaign for the Huskies and made the CAA All-Rookie team. However, she was ready for a different challenge – one at a bigger university and a bigger conference.
While making the decision to transfer, White had a few things she was looking for when trying to find the right school for her.
“I wanted a new experience,” White said. “I never wanted to be close to home when playing volleyball. I wanted to be independent and not have the option of falling back on going home for the weekends.”
Going across the country from her hometown in California wasn’t the only thing she was looking for. White wanted to go where she would be pushed more than she ever has so that she could ultimately become the best volleyball player she could be.
“I was sitting there during my second semester at Northeastern, always talking to my parents, and really wasn’t satisfied,” White said. “I wanted to be pushed to do my best and I was just too comfortable where I was. I knew I wanted to play with others that would challenge me, so I really wanted to get out of that space and actually do more.”
When wanting to do more, White wanted to be pushed in every aspect of her life as a student-athlete. She wanted to be pushed more in the weight room, at practice, and the classroom.
After making the decision to transfer, White was ready to go through the recruiting process again and Auburn stood out to her for numerous reasons.
“I really liked the visit I went on in Auburn,” White said. “The coaches were really good, and it just felt very family-oriented. You could really feel it. It was much faster than the recruiting process in high school. I felt like I knew exactly what I wanted, and so did Auburn. That just made the process so much easier.”
Now on the Plains, White loves the thrill of playing in the SEC and feels it is partly responsible for her success in her sophomore season.
“It’s been a fun experience,” she said. “It’s awesome the kind of support athletics has here in the SEC. I think competing against all the other SEC schools and preseason has helped me. It’s more exciting and has given me that drive to hit a better ball.”
White believes that making the decision to transfer has already made such a big impact on her volleyball career. She believes that Auburn has helped her become one of the top in the conference and in the nation in hitting percentage.
“I think that I work really well with Alexa (Filley). She feeds me the ball and sets it to me well,” White said. “It allows me to hit a whole bunch of different spots.”
Every match that White goes into, she has the same mindset and the same goals: to play loose and not stress out. She always maintains the “next ball mentality”.
“I think the same going into every match,” White said. “I always try to execute the game plan and what we go over in film or practice. I always try to stay positive and be a good influence to my teammates on the court.”
White has preserved a role on this team. Her role is to never get too excited or too down. She takes pride in providing a lot of energy to the team in each match. She believes that if she can do this, her teammates will realize it and essentially do the same. The best part about being on a team to White is being able to be an influence to her teammates.
“I approach my role on this team by maintaining my mental game. I always think about my team as a whole instead of just thinking about myself,” White said. “We’ve been really focused in practice. We all have different things that we need to focus on.”
The values and morals that she learns and implements in her daily life is what she feels is the most important thing to her. These values and morals that she learns is respecting herself, her teammates, and her opponents.
“That’s what’s most important to me,” White said. “I also just make sure that I give my all in every scenario. I do that especially in practice every day because I want to be able to do the same in a real game.”
White believes that volleyball has shaped her character. It has helped her in various aspects in her life. Not only on the court, but the classroom and her daily life as well.
“Volleyball has helped me be able to become prepared for anything much faster because of time management,” White said. “Also the mental stress of the game has helped me in the classroom. I think volleyball has made me a lot more level-headed. It puts more things into perspective for me. It’s kind of like how I have to take one point at a time because you don’t get more than one point on each swing. I take that into life too, by just taking life step-by-step.”