October 26, 2006

10 Questions with Volleyball's Elizabeth Bishop

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In preparation for tomorrow night’s home game against Yale, Paul Testa got some digs in with senior co-captain Elizabeth Bishop of the volleyball team.

1. Against Syracuse on Tuesday night, you girls won 3-0. It’s the first time in 19 years that the Red has beaten the Orange. How important was that win just momentum-wise in terms of where you are in the season?

I think it was really important that we had that win, and we played so well as a team. I think that’s kind of a reflection of how we want our season to continue.

So can we expect a similar performance this Friday? It’s a huge game. Yale’s coming to town.

Oh yes. Definitely.

This is a battle of No. 1 and No. 2 in the Ivy League, right?

We’re right behind Yale, and we’re in a must-win situation. We really have nothing to lose. If we play the way we played against Syracuse, we can have a really good shot at beating them.

How is this game going to be different from the last time you faced Yale, which Yale took, 3-0?

I think this next time will be better because we’ve been playing really well as a team. I think that’s going to be a big key for us. We have to have a mixed up offense, and our defense and blocking need to be on because they do have some really good hitters. Also, since we have the home court advantage, we want everyone to come out.

Tell me about this home court advantage because for a Cornell sport that isn’t hockey, you girls get some serious fans. You have some hardcore groupies.

We do have some hardcore superfans, people who really enjoy coming to all the games.

Why do you think that is? Is it just the spandex shorts, or is it something more?

Well, I think the spandex brings a lot of people in, but once they come to the volleyball games, I always hear people say, “Wow that was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it, and I would have never expected it,” because it’s such a fast-paced game.

It’s great! Girls rolling around on the floor in spandex diving after balls. It’s awesome. I have to hold to my chin up because my jaw drops all the time at games.

[Skeptically.]
Oh, does it?

I mean because the team is so talented.

Right, right, because we’re so athletic.

2. Friday’s match seems like a clash of the titans. Are the two teams like epic rivals?

In recent years, we have been.

How much do you just hate them?

I just … I really don’t want them to win. I don’t know.

Is it because they don’t deserve to win?

Well they’re a very good team, but I just don’t want them to win.

Hmm … someone’s been well-groomed by Athletic Communications to handle the muckraking press. Do you know the players?

I don’t really know the players but we’ve scouted them so much. We’ve played against them so often, so you kind of do know their tendencies. I don’t know what they’re like off the court at all. You’d probably say they’re all terrible.

I’ve heard rumors.

But their parents, at the Yale game, had shirts that said “Yale Bulldogs” on the front and “Chew on the Big Red” on the back. They had to have that in order to beat us, so that’s a pretty low stunt.

That’s incredibly lame. Did they have the pins with their daughter’s pic and number on it?

Yeah, I think they did.

Losers.

3. You do a lot of killing. You had 15 kills against Syracuse and hold the all-time school record. Aren’t you worried it’s going to catch up with you?

[Shrugs.]
I’m a killer. Actually, my grandma at home was like, “I don’t want to hear about anymore kills.” It’s kind of funny that she says that, but I like being a killer.

Do you have a nickname like Liz “The Deadly” Bishop.

No, but I’ve been called “Ragin’ Bish” a few times. Some people think it sounds like something else.

I don’t get it. When did this start? Were you always a killer, or did something just snap one day?

I don’t know. I wasn’t always a killer. I would say maybe in high school, senior or junior year.

High school’s tough. I’ve got a few friends on the rugby team. Do you ever contract out your work?

We could. I’ve got a pretty good spike.

4. Assistant Sports Editor Tim Kuhls is a big fan of you girls. He used to cover the team and would talk about girls getting “facialized” on the court. Do you know what I’m talking about — a nice little spike to the face?

Sometimes that’s the goal. You aim for someone.

Anyone in particular, maybe on Yale?

No one in particular this next game, but I may go for it.

When you see a sitter, are you like all right here’s my chance to rain down some facial pain?

I actually just try to put the ball down because that’s the best thing you can do. But if you hit someone in the face, it’s a little bonus. That makes me sound so mean, though.

Okay, killer. How embarrassing is it? Have you ever been facialized?

I have. It’s a big blow to the confidence. I haven’t been recently, but if it happens to you, you just have to shake it off. It’s a very intimidating factor. If someone gets facialized on the other team, the person who kills it will always celebrate with their team, and it’s a big momentum boost.

Do you do a little T.O. celebration or maybe just the stare down?

You can’t really talk through the net, but you turn around and maybe do a little dance.

5. We’ve already mentioned the spandex-factor, but I think it’s really important to understanding the game. Does it really help you play better?

Yeah, it really helps you play better because you don’t have as much restriction as with shorts. You can dive to the floor and not worry about your shorts flying up.

That’s a fair point. What about the wedgie factor? Is it an issue?

No, it’s not an issue.

All right, because the women’s cross country team seems to have some issues with their spandex. Do you think you could talk to them?

I could do that.

What’s up with the kneepads? Are you girls on your knees a lot?

[Looks away in disgust.]
Well, we try to stay off our knees and protect them.

So you wear protection?

[Rolls eyes.]
Got to protect those knees. Don’t want to get those bruises.

I’m sorry. That was maybe uncalled for.

It was a little inappropriate.

Everything I do is a little inappropriate, but that’s part of the 10 Questions experience.

6. As much as I love the atmosphere in Newman Arena, I think you girls are missing something. How do you feel about sand?

Sand?

Sand. I think Cornell needs to lead the way and transition Ivy League volleyball into Ivy League beach volleyball. You’re already wearing spandex, just toss on the bikini top, and I guarantee you the stands will be packed.

[Thoughtfully.]
Yeah, we could set up a whole beach in Newman Arena. Have it be sunny, get some heat in there. Put up some big palm trees. Sounds good.

Do you ever play beach volleyball?

I actually don’t. I really enjoy indoor volleyball much more because I can jump a lot easier, but I mean, it’s fun if you’re on a beach.

Sure, I think a lot of things are fun if you’re on a beach. I think there’s a drink named after that.

7. Your head coach Deitre Collins-Parker just got married. Were you at the wedding?

No, I wasn’t unfortunately.

Were you invited?

I was, actually. I was invited to the wedding, but it was during Senior Week, so I stayed during Senior Week. She got married, and she’s doing really well. I think it’s great that her husband [Dale Parker] can now be a coach of the women’s basketball team. It’s a Cornell family.

Would you say that Deitre Collins is the best-dressed coach in the league?

Most definitely, yes. By far the best dressed coach in the Ivy League, and maybe in the whole NCAA. I would go that far.

I think a lot of coaches here could use her help. What is it that makes Deitre so stylish?

She picks very trendy outfits, and the outfits always go together perfectly. She pulls it off with such confidence, which is key. And a lot of times she wears heels too, which is great.

Do you ever ask her fashion advice?

I sometimes do. We have large shoe sizes, a lot of the girls on the team, and so we always compare and if someone gets a nice shoe…

What exactly is a “nice shoe”?

Like a heel. Do you have nice shoes?

These shoes? I found them in the lost and found box at work, so yes, they are a “nice shoe.”

Yeah, free shoes.

Thanks, they’re probably my favorite shoes ever. I try to dress up for these things.

8. So I’m looking to get a gift for my father for Christmas, and I’m thinking maybe a nice wool shirt. Do you have any recommendations?

[Rolls eyes.]
Actually, yeah, there’s a great company. It’s called Pendleton Wool Mills.

Is it family-owned?

Yeah, for five generations.

Um, maybe owned by your family?

Maybe. Yeah, maybe.

Is that cool? Do you see a shirt and go, “Ah yes, the Rustic Lumberjack model 2.0.”

It’s pretty cool. I recognize different things. It’s really helped me get an interest to maybe go into the apparel industry in the future. I don’t want to work for the company right away.

Flannel’s maybe not your favorite fabric?

Not right now, but eventually maybe. There’s a lot of history and heritage. It’s really nice to have that.
They’re great shirts. My dad loves them.
Oh, and by the way, these shoes, Pendleton made by Vans.

Oooh. That’s a nice crossover. What was Christmas like? Were you like, “Oh wow, another finely made woolen shirt. Thanks mom and dad!”

I like to get Pendleton sweaters because they keep me warm in Ithaca winters.

9. You were the “super frosh” when you got here and the Ivy League Player of the Year last year. Do you travel in a separate car for road matches?

Oh my gosh, no. I can’t even believe how well I’ve done. It’s kind of surprising to me. It really is a testament to the team as a whole, and I couldn’t have expected any of this to happen. It’s just really cool because I love playing volleyball, and I’m playing it with my best friends. It’s so great that it worked out.

[Tear.]
Are you getting sentimental?

Yeah, before the last match, I was like, “Wow, we’re playing at home, and this is awesome, and this is one of my last matches.”

Is it cool to have groupies?

They’re just a whole bunch of friends who come out and support us at games.

I mean your boyfriend, [senior] Will Versfelt, is the “U” who makes up shirtless “C.U.” superfans.

He is the shirtless “U.”

Is that distracting at all? Are you ever about to serve and just like “oooh?”

[Laughing.]
Sometimes it gets a little distracting — no, just kidding, but it’s really nice to have fans there to support us and go all out and try and get the fans into it.

So is the “U” painted on him at all times?

Not at all times.

You make him take it off now and then.

He washes it off. It stains all his white shirts.

What does he use? Is it regular paint, or the crimson blood of Harvardellians?

It’s a secret.

A secret?! There are no secrets in 10 Questions.

[Laughing.]
It’s a red sharpie.

A sharpie? I feel like that wouldn’t wash off.

It does somehow.

Do you do it because I feel like it’s tough to “U” yourself?

The “C” does it. [Senior] Dan [Treitler] does it.

Are you cool with Dan touching your man?

Yeah, we love the support.

10. What’s the hottest male varsity team at Cornell?

Oh, well if you were going to say team, I would have told you that the hottest team was the Jansen’s Revenge flag football team.

I’ve learned my lesson. You can give a shout out if you want, but I need a varsity team.

Let’s see. I would have to say men’s soccer, but they would need to grow a little bit. They’re a little bit short.

That’s got to be tough, being a tall girl. Does it limit your options at Cornell?

It definitely does. I’m lucky I found a tall guy.

So men’s soccer, does this have anything to do with seniors Dan and Tom Marks hailing from your home state of Oregon?

I love the Marks brothers. They’re great friends, and they are pretty hot too.

Twins always are.

Paul Testa is a Sun Assistant Sports Editor. 10 Questions will appear every Thursday this year, unless Testa gets asked to play on the professional beach volleyball tour. Comments and suggestions may be sent to pft4@cornell.edu.