Through exceptional individual and team performance, Coast Report’s first feature athlete of the fall season is Orange Coast College women’s volleyball freshman team captain and libero, Emily Payne.
Ranked No. 10 in the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) poll, OCC is in a heated battle with No. 5 Cypress College and No. 18 Irvine Valley College for the OEC title, where the Pirates find themselves only one game behind the Chargers in the standings with five conference games left to play.
While the Pirates continue to fight down the home stretch, Payne took some time to answer both pressing and light hearted questions.
Ten questions with Emily Payne:
What is your favorite part about playing volleyball at OCC?
My favorite part of playing volleyball at OCC is definitely just the atmosphere, and playing in that atmosphere with my team. It's really like I'm playing with sisters. They're always having my back or anything, even if I need help with school. I know my teammates are there for me. It's a fun atmosphere in the gym, outside when we're weightlifting, or whatever it may be.
How do you embrace your role as a leader on the team?
Not only do I try to over-communicate and talk and say everything I see, I want to lead with my performance. I feel like that's a big part of not only being a captain, but being a libero as well. My job is to run the back court and so I've got to lead with my performance, and also talk the entire match.
What is this team’s potential in terms of winning the Conference or one day making a state run?
I feel like we're playing really well right now. We're starting to mold together, and I feel like we definitely have a shot at winning our conference. We have a good matchup this week against IVC, so we have to come out strong. But it is not only that, I think we could definitely go to state.
Do you have a best friend on the team? What do you guys do?
Honestly, I feel like I'm super close with my whole team. We all hang out together. We'll go get tacos at Super A's after our practice on Tuesdays, so that's super fun.
You are originally from Rancho Cucamonga. What do you miss most about home?
I grew up there. All my friends are there but they're away at college too. I definitely miss my family, and I would say my home-cooked meals.
What is your favorite show and/or movie?
Movie: "Cheaper by the Dozen." Show: "New Girl."
Do you have a favorite artist?
Is there a celebrity or athlete you idolize?
Kobe Bryant. I've always looked up to him. It's kind of a coincidence but I always grew up having the same number as him. I like listening to him talk about how you need to conduct yourself on the court, and how you need to not only prepare before your match, but days before.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
What do you plan on doing after graduating from OCC?
Hopefully, I could go on to transfer and play at a four-year college anywhere in California. I’m keeping all my options open.
Payne and the OCC women’s volleyball team will play a make-up game against Ventura College on Nov. 2 before resuming OEC play against Riverside at home Nov. 3 at 6 p.m.