Nov. 12, 2008
Heppert Through the Years
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF volleyball team will be hosting its final home match of the season Saturday night against Conference USA-foe, Southern Miss at The Venue at UCF. But, the match will not only serve as the last home match of 2008 for the Knights, but will also serve as Senior Night, the last match in the careers of seniors Jenny Heppert (Lawrence, Kan.) and Stephanie Serna (San Antonio, Texas). Members of the UCF Athletics Communications staff recently sat down with Heppert to get her feelings about the end of her sparkling career at UCF.
Talk a little bit about you past four seasons at UCF.
"It is amazing to think that it has been four years. The changes that have taken place here have just been incredible. I cannot even begin to tell you what I have seen this University go through, this program go through, the athletics department go through. Everything has just blossomed since I have been here. The construction has been incredible and the new facility upgrades, including having our own new arena, was something that I could have barely imagined coming in. But now I know that this is definitely a big-time program, and there is a commitment from the athletics department to make the volleyball program a marquee program of the school."
How does it feel to end your career on the high note that the team has put together this season?
What is your favorite memory of your time at UCF?
"It has been great to have Todd (Dagenais) come in and really make an amazing team atmosphere for us. Everyone coming together this year has been a really important thing for me as a senior. Just having that team feeling, being a successful team and doing things that people never thought that we could do makes me feel that all of the hard work I put in and all the effort our coaches have put in makes it all worth while. It has been a great trip."
"I couldn't put it down to one memory. Definitely not. There are just too many good memories."
What is something that you will be able to take away from your experience as a Knight?
"I think I will definitely take with me all of the friends I have made and all of the connections I have made with people. I will take with me the lessons that I have learned and the experiences that I have been through. Mostly, I will take with me the thought that anything is possible and there is always hope and always room for growth and change."
Being a captain this season and having to lead a young team, how did your role change in 2008?
"This year I had a lot more responsibility to bring this team together. You don't always have to look at the wins and losses as progress, it is also realizing that this group of people didn't even know each other three months ago, had never even met. So, the fact that we were able to come together was something that Stephanie and I really wanted to help make possible. We wanted to make the transition smooth and make everyone feel like this was the place they were meant to be and needed to be. That was a huge responsibility that we had at the beginning of the season and have continued to try to build."
Do you think that Saturday's match will be an emotional for you?
"It definitely is emotional already. It is already at that point. I am definitely going to try not to cry, but there are no guarantees. Looking back at all the memories, all of the people and that fact that this chapter in my life is coming to a close is an emotional time and I'm just hoping to enjoy it rather than be upset about it."
What kind of legacy do you want to leave for you teammates?
"I just want them to embrace the situation that they have. We were given so much. The coaching staff that has been put in place is taking this program in a great direction. I just want them to buy into that and to stay true to what we have started this year and to just build on it. I see limitless potential in these girls, and if they just believe that and use the resources they have around them, they are just going to be incredible, and I can't wait to see that.
The UCF volleyball team will honor its two seniors, Heppert and Serna, in its final home match of the season on Saturday, Nov. 15, when it hosts Southern Miss at The Venue at UCF at 7 p.m. For the latest news on the Knights, log on to www.UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit www.UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.