Mallard Wraps Up Junior Year In Style
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
Jennifer Mallard is a redshirt junior from Richmond, Va. Mallard, who is majoring in Middle School Education, suffered a severe knee injury prior to the 2009 season, causing her to miss the entire year. In 2010, Mallard returned to volleyball and led the Seahawks with 27 service aces.
Q: Explain what happened with your knee injury?
A: It was in the spring, at the end of my freshman year when I tore my ACL, meniscus and dislocated my knee cap. We were in a tournament at N.C. State and I went up for an attack and I came down on my left leg. My knee just buckled and I missed all of my sophomore year. I got to medical redshirt, so I still have one year of eligibility left.
Q: What was the toughest part of dealing with your injury? And what was the hardest part about coming back?
A: Rehab. Rehab was awful; it was one of the hardest things I've ever done. It takes a lot to get your body back to where I was able to do normal everyday functions. I basically had to learn how to walk again. It was especially hard to get my body back to a place where I could compete as a Division I athlete. It takes a lot of will and determination. My parents, teammates and coaches helped a lot because they were behind me, providing support the every step of the way.
Q: How has your game changed or even possibly improved since your injury?
A: My vertical is not quite as high as it was before. I used to be able to see right over the blocks and put my shot wherever I wanted it to go. Now I have to use more shot selection and be a little craftier, which is great because it makes me a more complete athlete. I have to work even harder in the weight room to get my muscle strength back to where it was. It has also helped me learn to not take things for granted, especially sports. Having sports taking away and everything I went through was definitely an eye opening experience.
Q: If you could sit down and have dinner with one person, past or present, who would it be and why?
A: Derrick Rose. He's my age, but he's a professional athlete and I would love to know how that is.
Q: Describe the feeling of getting served an ace in a match?
A: It's very frustrating, it kind of breaks your confidence a little bit, but as a captain I can't show that, so I have to brush it off and move on.
Q: What workout or exercise routine is your least favorite?
A: Probably agility stuff. I didn't like it before my knee surgery and I definitely don't like it after. Running doesn't bother me and I love lifting weights, but the agility stuff isn't fun.
Q: If you could travel to any place in the world, where would you go and why?
A: Australia because I really want to see kangaroos out in the wild. I would love to be out in the wild with all the animals, camping and enjoying the wild life.
Q: What's your favorite part of UNCW?
A: I like the beach, but my favorite part is the atmosphere of being here. Everyone is really nice and welcoming and everyone tries to help however they can.
Q: Are you a sports fan? If so what is your favorite sports memory?
A: Michael Jordan's buzzer beater in the 1982 National Championship when UNC beat Georgetown. I remember I had a poster of that shot in my room when I was eight or nine.
Q: What is the most difficult class you have had? What is the most enjoyable class you have had?
A: Science classes, particularly the oceanography class I'm taking now. As for my most enjoyable class, I would have to say all of my educational courses. I am an Education major and I really enjoy all of the classes I have taken.
Q: Do you have any skills or talents outside of volleyball? If so what?
A: I played basketball and track in high school and I used to be in show choir.
Q: What is the one material object in your life that you could absolutely not live without?