July 17, 2020 – By NJP
The Old Bridge Knight’s setter Olivia Tuohy will be entering her senior year and the Tuohy family will be saying good-bye to high school volleyball, an experience that has served them well over the past 6 years. Having a son and a daughter play at the varsity level is a major accomplishment, and the roots of the game that they introduced to their kids at a young age paid dividends.
Justin and Olivia have played a lot of backyard volleyball over the years. They are both setters with Justin being two years older than his younger sister. Their kinship is very apparent in our correspondence over the years with Justin often referring to Olivia’s amazing support during his high school years. Justin was an outstanding high school volleyball player, quarterbacking the success of NJ’s best high school team in 2018 and 2019. He has now gone on to Rutgers where he did just about everything a freshman could achieve, leading the Scarlet Raiders to a 17-1 record and National Ranking in D-3 and he finishing third in the nation with 10.95 assist per set. He was the NJAC Co-Rookie of the Year, 1st Team All-CVC, AVCA All-East Region First Team, and the NVA/AVCA 2nd Team All American. With his Mom, Dad, and sister leading the cheers for the local hero.
But now its Olivia’s opportunity to make the most of her senior year and revitalize a Knights squad that has missed state playoffs the last two seasons. She is a solid player with vast experience having played club volleyball for Warren Six Pack for the past several years. She will need to lead, as a senior, a young core of talent that we expect to emerge at Old Bridge. Old Bridge is a hot spot for success over the past few years for the boys program and Olivia is charged with setting the tone for this years girls squad.
There is no doubt that Olivia is a competitor. She loves the game and her passion shows on every point. There is nothing she would like better than to rival her brothers success on the court this season and with the schedule being reduced, anything can happen if a team gets hot early in their campaign.
Here is our interview with Ms. 2E…
Tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Olivia Tuohy and I attend Old Bridge High School. I have been on Varsity since my freshman year as a setter. With my graduating year being 2021, I will be a senior this coming fall. My family consists of my Mom, Dad, brother and dog.
How long have you played volleyball and what inspired you to take up volleyball initially?
I have been playing volleyball (competitively) since I was 11. I went to Jonas Salk Middle School, which is where I first started to seriously get into volleyball. My parents shared an interest in volleyball and would always play games at a local park when me and my older brother Justin were younger. We would watch them play for hours, and have been fascinated by the game ever since we were toddlers. On top of my parents inspiring me to play volleyball, my brother is definitely my biggest role model. I followed after him once he made the volleyball team in middle school. Watching a majority of his games and going to many of his tournaments made me want to be just as good of a player as him someday.
What are your metrics/details? Height, vertical, position, club team, etc. What’s your favorite position to play?
I am 5’3” with a 27-inch vertical. I have always been a setter, and it is definitely favorite position to play, although I do enjoy hitting every now and then. What I love so much about setting is that I am able to strategize every play and set my attackers up for success. Setting is a very precise skill and I take it as a challenge to be as consistent and perfect as possible. Along with school volleyball, I’ve also been playing at Warren Sixpack Volleyball Club since I was 13.
How will your Old Bridge high school team do in the upcoming season? Do you have a lot of returning players? What will be the key to success?
I think my team at Old Bridge High School can have a very successful season if we work hard at every practice and stay mentally tough at all times. Despite losing six seniors, we have so many younger players with extreme potential and athleticism. I think the key to our success will be staying positive and trusting each one of us will do our job on the court. Our coach, Hopman, is all about staying mentally tough. Majority of the game of volleyball is mental, which is why I think our success will rely on never giving up and having positive attitudes no matter what.
Tell us about your Knights teammates. Who do you expect will be this year’s standout and up and coming players?
This coming fall, I expect many of my teammates to do very well and improve tremendously throughout the season due to the fact that they all strive to work hard. Specifically, I think rising senior Isabelle Shields, a strong outside hitter and DS, will have a very successful season. She is extremely hard working and will standout without a doubt. Malvina Sullivan, who is going to be a sophomore this year, has so much potential which was shown her freshman year on Varsity. She is a strong outside hitter with an insane vertical and is an overall strong player all around. Two more great teammates to have on the court are Abby DeWitt and Abby Russ. These two incoming juniors are definitely players to watch out for; they both have a strong arm and will do very well as outside hitters this year.
NJP considers you as one of the top players in the state. Do you plan on playing in College? (If so, which ones are you looking at?)
As my years playing volleyball for Old Bridge comes to an end, looking into colleges makes me very excited for what’s to come. I love playing volleyball and can not imagine my life without it. I would love to play in college, no matter if it’s Division 1, club, or anything in between. My dream school is Penn State, but I have also been looking into Rutgers, Florida State University, or University of Florida. I plan on making the most of my senior year season in hopes of leaving a mark on the Old Bridge Volleyball community.
Which player last season was the toughest competitor that you faced and why?
Last season, the toughest competitor that I faced was definitely Simrin Carlsen. She is one of the most talented outside hitters I have ever played against for sure. She plays with such ease and is amazing no matter where she is on the court, front row or back row. She is consistent with her hits, has a lot of power, and is able to strategically place the ball when needed. Her defense is also very impressive and she seems like she would be a great teammate to be around.
Old Bridge has an outstanding tradition and has had amazing success with the boys winning two straight state championships. How does this effect the girls squad?
The boys volleyball team in 2018 and 2019 was filled with outstanding talent which inevitably led them to a lot of success. On behalf of the girls squad, I definitely think that the boys’ hard work and positive mentalities have inspired us to reach for greatness and give 110% during every game. Rooting the boys team on during the state finals gave us motivation to want to work as hard as we can because we saw how it pays off in the end. Seeing them win back to back state championships was one of the coolest experiences ever, and has made me hungrier than ever to win. Aside from the players, Coach Hopman is truly the best coach I have ever had, and clearly knows how to lead a team to success. He works with our strengths and knows how to use them to eliminate our weaknesses. Despite the fact that we may not have as much skill as the boys team, Hopman keeps us in the best shape possible and makes sure we have consistently positive mindsets on and off the court.
Tell us about your high school coach?
My high school coach, Coach Hopman, is the best coach I’ve ever had. I’ve been lucky enough to have him coach me for almost 5 years now. He was my first coach at Warren Sixpack, where me and his daughter played on the same team and became very good friends. I admire Hopman’s ability to run a fast paced practice no matter what the age or skill level is. He is tough, hard core, and doesn’t sugar coat anything. He absolutely loves telling dad jokes and is probably the most sarcastic person I’ve ever met. I’m gonna miss playing for him once I graduate but I’m grateful to have had such an amazing coach all throughout my years in high school.
Who is your support group?
My biggest supporters are definitely my family. My Mom and Dad work so hard and have a long commute to the city Monday-Friday, yet somehow they never fail to show up to every single one of my games. I am so grateful that I have the most supportive parents ever and never have to question whether or not I’ll see them sitting in the bleachers cheering me on. My brother Justin always hypes me up and makes me feel confident before and after games. A majority of my success is owed to them, I definitely would not be where I am today if I didn’t have them.
What is your favorite inspirational video that you like to watch before games?
My favorite video to watch before games is this video of Kobe Bryant being interviewed. Kobe Bryant has a straight face on as he says “Whats there to be happy about?”. The reporter says back, “You’re up 2-0”. Kobe replies back to that saying how his jobs not finished, and there’s nothing to be happy about until he wins the championship. This reminds me to never stop working hard, and that there’s no time for settling. There’s always room for improvement, and it inspires me to put all my effort into each and every game, that way I can celebrate after when the hard work finally pays off.
How are you and your family dealing with current world situation with COVID-19? How will the delay in the Fall high school season schedule effect you or your team?
Me and my family are handling the COVID-19 situation pretty well and are keeping busy despite the limited amount of things there are to do. Me and my brother play volleyball on the net we set up in our backyard and invite our friends over to play as well. I was upset at first to find out there will be a delay in the fall high school season, but I am grateful we are able to have a season at all. I don’t think the delay will effect me too bad considering I’m able to play volleyball with my brother and practice often anyways. I’m hoping as soon as my team is able to get back on the court we will work hard and get in good shape quickly.
Is there a teacher or coach who really helped you along the way?
Freshman year, I played both JV and Varsity. I’m so happy I got to be apart of both, mainly because I was able to also play for Coach Jaclyn Baldino, the JV coach. She is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and was always able to make me laugh no matter what went on throughout my day at school. I looked forward to her running practice and I was able to learn a lot of life lessons along with volleyball skills from her. She helped me gain a lot of confidence while playing and always knew what to say if I was hesitant on the court.