September 7, 2020 – By NJP (all photos were taken & provided by Tim Carlsen)
Class. Poise. Character. Leadership. These are just a few of the many positive adjectives thought of when JP Stevens senior Simrin Carlsen is being discussed. What she has accomplished on the court over the past three years is truly remarkable.
Simrin has posted 833 kills in her high school school career as well as over 100 aces. She is a scoring machine and has been clearly unstoppable on the attack. So far though her junior season, she holds JP Stevens all-time records for kills in a career, kills in a season, digs in a career, and aces in a career. She was Co-Captain in 2019 and the recipient of the JP Stevens MVP Award. The accolades were substantial in 2019 with Simrin earning All-Division, All-Conference, All-Group, and All-State honors as well as being named Volleyball Athlete of the Year by MyCentralJersey.com.
But the depth of her game is quite impressive. Her 591 digs in her first three years is a testament to her versatility. She is an accomplished setter and has been outstanding at that position during her club season. She also put up 62 blocks thus far in her career at JP. Her success goes far beyond her high school experience. She has been a steady presence at her club VB Rags for the past 6 years and her team has made the USAV National tournament every season. She is a seasoned and prepared volleyball based on her experience and shows it every time she hits the floor.
JP Stevens has now won back to back Division titles and will look to repeat a GMC Championship after winning the tournament in 2019 and going 28-2 overall last season. With the shortened season, who knows what lies ahead for the Hawks, but you can rest assured that they will once again be near the tops in the state with Simrin leading the way during her senior campaign. She is in our top 5 projection for the 2020-21 NJP Player of the Year.
Academically, Simrin is an outstanding student as a member of the National Honor Society, the Science Honor Society, and the French Honor Society in addition to maintaining a cumulative 3.95 GPA. Simrin aspires to go Pre-Med for college. Any top notch University will be very lucky to add her as a student and team member.
Here is our interview with Ms. Carlsen…
Tell us a bit about yourself, Simrin?
I am currently a senior at J.P. Stevens High School and part of the graduating class of 2021. I live in Edison, New Jersey with my parents and our cat Runa. I have an older sister, Nina, who was actually the one to introduce me to volleyball and also played for the J.P. Stevens girls volleyball team.
How long have you played volleyball and what inspired you to take up volleyball initially?
The start of my volleyball career involved being shelled by my older sister as she practiced her hitting form in the backyard. After I got tired of not being able to properly defend myself, I signed up for a local NJ Premier volleyball camp during the summer going into 6th grade. Coincidentally, I met my current high school coach, Coach Anthony White, there and told me he had high hopes for when I got to JP. Little did I know that they would actually happen – twice! That summer I decided to quit softball and pursue volleyball full time. I played my first year of club at CJ Heat then transitioned to VB Rags Volleyball Academy the next year and the rest is history. I am entering my 7th year of club and unfortunately it’s my last one.
What are your metrics/details? Height, vertical, position, club team, etc. What’s your favorite position to play?
I’m 5’10” with a 32 inch vertical, a little undersized for an Outside Hitter but I’d like to think I make up for it with my ability to jump. Ever since I began playing at VB Rags my 14’s year, I have been a utility player, both setting and hitting. I won’t deny that one of my favorite feelings is crushing a perfect set but I truly believe that setting has helped me grow not only as a player but as a person as well. Setters have to be calm at every point in the match and always be prepared to run their offense. Being able to play the game from both perspectives also helps me build stronger relationships with my teammates and understand what they’re feeling. I will be ending my club career this season playing for VB Rags under Coach Carly Rivera.
How are you and your family dealing with the current world situation with COVID-19? Are you expecting a normal Fall high school season schedule?
My family has been doing well, all things considered. I work for my mom who is a dentist, and this summer was chaotic to say the least, getting her business COVID safe and ready to reopen. My dad has primarily been working from home which has been great since we recently took up surfing together. Our high school season was unfortunately postponed but fingers crossed that it happens in the spring. This summer I spent quite a bit of time out on the beach training and playing a couple tournaments. Beach volleyball feels like a completely different sport and it was a fun way to stay in shape and challenge myself.
How will your high school team do in the upcoming season? Do you have a lot of returning players? What will be the key to success? Tell us about your teammates. Who do you expect will be this year’s standout and up and coming players?
I believe that our team this year has immense potential and it’s just a matter of getting back in the gym. We lost a couple of starting seniors that played key roles on our team but this season is a great opportunity to show our opponent’s a different offense. The key this year is a little different than prior years. Assuming that there is a spring season, we have to stay healthy and make the most of our shortened schedule. To me the best part of high school season is playing with my peers, so having fun is always the number one goal! I’ve been extremely lucky to play with amazing young women over my last 3 seasons at J.P Stevens and this upcoming year is no exception. Our setter, Laurel Sarkaria, has made quite the impact on our program since her freshman year and allowed our offense to run efficiently and to the best of its ability. You can count on Joyce Chen(OH), Alexis Jorji(MB), and Christina Chen(MB) significantly contributing to our offense and I’m stoked to be playing next to them!
JP Stevens was 28-2 last season powered by your 400 kills as a junior. Tell us about your end of season run?
There’s a lot that goes into a kill that we don’t always think about. Our libero, Lauren Hyun, was playing lights out defense and giving us every opportunity to set up an offense and score. As the season progressed, Laurel and I began working on more diverse sets that proved to be effective, and I could count on her sets being spot on. Irene Quan, our other outside hitter, was putting balls away left and right which helped balance out the offense as well. Our team was in rhythm for pretty much the entire season which allowed all of us to play at our best. I also began setting goals for myself each game and pushing myself to achieve them.
How do you balance being an athlete while also being an honor society student?
In my house, academics has always come first. Doing well in school is a pride of mine and I never want to jeopardize succeeding in school by playing volleyball. It’s not easy being a student athlete, especially at my school, but I enjoy the rigor of being both on and off the court. Like many student athletes, time management has been essential in balancing both school and volleyball. Nights with practice and weekends with tournaments tend to be a bit hectic so keeping to a schedule has always been a must for me.
Who is your support group?
My support group has always been my family. They’re always there for me whether it be at a match, concert, or celebration. From softball, to soccer, to finally volleyball, they have always been on the sidelines cheering me on. My mom and dad have spent countless hours in the car driving me to and from club practice for the past 7 years, not to mention the flights to tournaments. I can always count on my grandmother and uncle being in the stands with their ‘Carlsen’ shirts – not that there is ever any confusion that they’re there for me. My coach, Coach Carly Rivera, has been a major supporter of mine from day one as well and saw my potential at 12 years old. Your support group believes in you even when you don’t believe in yourself, and each of these individuals have done this over my entire life. Without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am or have the opportunities that I do today.
What has your club experience been like at VB Rags?
I have been fortunate enough to play at VB Rags for 7 seasons. My club experience with Coach Carly began when I signed up for a grass summer clinic during 6th grade for fun. After unexpectedly being offered to play for their 14s team, I spent the year training, competing, and growing as a player. I loved the training I was receiving and the encouraging yet competitive atmosphere. I was always being challenged and forced to grow which has made me into the player I am today. Having the opportunity to travel the country and play the best of the best kept me coming back each year for more. Over the years, I have made incredible relationships and found some of my closest friends at VB Rags. My time there has been memorable and I can’t believe I have to say goodbye at the end of this season.
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?)
Playing collegiate volleyball has always been a goal of mine and I look forward to competing at the next level. Academics comes first for me so finding a university that takes pride in both their academics and athletics is important. Currently I am not committed to a school but I hope to have some exciting news later in the year!
What are your other hobbies?
Though volleyball is one of my main passions, I love trying new things and spending time off the court too. I’m always excited to be outdoors and hike or bike new trails. Being in nature is a great way to relax and it’s one of my favorite things to do. I also love baking for my friends, family, and neighborhood. I was in the kitchen every week during quarantine and eventually banned from making any more sweets for a while so that’s been on pause, but I’ll get back into it soon! Music has also been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and playing the guitar is a fun way to relax and spend my time.
What do you do during the offseason to stay in shape and prepare for next year? (Club team? Workouts? Watch VB vids? Go to College games?) Do you play other sports? (if so, which ones?)
This summer looked a little different than other summer’s in terms of volleyball. I hung up indoor for a while and spent a lot of time on the beach. My club, VB Rags, hosted summer programs that allowed me to develop my skills and still get reps in despite not being able to practice indoors. I played a couple of tournaments at Point Pleasant which was great since I love the competition aspect of volleyball. I also workout during the week but try to get active in more fun ways such as surfing, hiking, and biking.
More Video’s at https://www.simrincarlsen.com/new-gallery