Freshman pre-nursing major Amanda Pultorak from Hinsdale South High School in Darien, III., joins the NSU volleyball team this fall. I sat down with the new Shark, who has a recorded .552 hitting percentage and 102 total blocks behind her name, to learn more about her transition from the Windy City to the Sunshine State.
When did you first get started in volleyball?
“Third grade – it was actually my third grade teacher. Her mom owned the club First Alliance Volleyball and they invited me and a couple of my friends to try volleyball because they said that it was super fun. So, I started and I played there for my entire life because I just loved it there — she’s who got me started.”
How did you decide to move away from Chicago to study at NSU?
“Obviously the weather down here is perfect and I’m somebody that hates snow — I can’t even deal with it — so I knew that I wanted to go south. So, when the head coach contacted me, I came out and I fell in love with the campus … everything kinda just fit together. Everyone here was super nice, so I just felt like I was at home; like I belonged here.”
What has it been like transitioning from a Hinsdale Hornet to an NSU Shark?
“In the Midwest we do it [volleyball] so much differently than down here. Like for the last two days I’ve had to really work on my whole blocking technique and footwork transitions … I’m used to swing blocking and here they don’t swing block; I’m used to step crossovers to block and they do more of a run and jump. They open up different ways when they transition off the net … it’s basically like I’m relearning the game of volleyball, but it’s almost a relief for me here because coach King’s coaching styles are a lot more relaxed so I’m not stressed and I know a lot of the girls here and the freshman.”
What motivates you to keep going?
“It’s more that I just love playing the game and I really wanna be a starter here so that’s what’s motivating me. Then lifting wise, I look at all of the juniors and seniors and they have those nice big muscles and I’m like, ‘I wanna have muscles like that … I want my body to look like that’ so that’s what motivates me.”
Are there any athletes in particular — professional or otherwise — that you look up to?
“I look at Katie [Pyles] and Denvyr [Tyler-Palmer]’s leg muscles — those two girls on the team have muscles that are so big and I want to be like that! But, I haven’t really had a volleyball idol.”
What do you think that your biggest accomplishment has been so far?
“I think that it would be just being able to be live the dream of being a college athlete and getting a full-ride scholarship to a great university … and I got it. I’m here. This is it!”
What advice would you give to someone who is in your position?
“I would say to just be really open to everything and make sure that you listen to what your coaches say. Be patient with yourself. Don’t get frustrated; it’ll all click together.”
Credit: M. Shattuck
Caption: Amanda Pultorak joins the NSU volleyball team after being named MVP and earning All-Conference honors.