WHO: Jill Pearson.
SPORT: Volleyball. Pearson also was an all-Region II basketball player in high school.
HIGH SCHOOL: Loudoun County, 1998 graduate.
COLLEGE: George Mason University.
SO HOW DID YOUR FRESHMAN YEAR GO? HOW MUCH DID YOU PLAY, AND HOW DID THE TEAM DO?
"Team-wise in volleyball we didn't do really well [the Patriots finished 7-25]. We're really young, but we don't have any seniors next year. At first I wasn't starting, but then I got into the front row starting rotation, then came out in the back row and ended up in the full rotation. I didn't start every game, but I played more than I thought I would."
WHAT WAS IT LIKE PLAYING JUST ONE SPORT?
"It was hard at first, but volleyball keeps me busy. Our only break was winter break, but as soon as we came back we were conditioning. We had a strength season in the spring. It was definitely a lot of work."
WHAT KIND OF ADJUSTMENTS DID YOU HAVE TO MAKE THIS YEAR, GOING FROM BEING A BIG FISH ON THE LOUDOUN COUNTY VOLLEYBALL TEAM TO GEORGE MASON?
"It was a gut-check when I went in there. All these girls are my caliber or much better. The funny thing was my roommate and I played the same position. I had decided that I was going to work really hard, and I was going to have to work really hard because every girl on the team was better than me. And every player in that conference was better than me. But I told myself that I would work really hard to get better."
WHAT SURPRISED YOU ABOUT DIVISION I COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL?
"How much time you have to put in there to practice, playing time, conditioning, weight lifting. But every single girl is a strong girl and competitive girl and an athlete. And you travel a lot. ... We went to California, which was really cool. We went to San Francisco, and played at Berkeley, which was quite an experience. I had never been to Berkeley -- that place is really crazy. We went to San Diego when the World Series was going on. Our hotel was a block from [Qualcomm] Stadium. And we went to Houston."
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM YOUR FRESHMAN SEASON THAT YOU'LL BE ABLE TO TAKE INTO YOUR SOPHOMORE YEAR THAT WILL HELP YOU IMPROVE?
"I know what I have to work on now, especially because during the spring we had to do a lot of personal work. The coaches told me what I have to do to get better. I think I got a lot smarter about the game, learned what I have to do to get better, and I can go on from there"
OFF THE COURT, WHAT DID YOU THINK OF COLLEGE?
"You get to meet just anybody you want to meet. Especially at Mason. There's a lot of diverse people there. And I had a lot of free time -- even though I was playing volleyball, I still had a lot of free time."
Virginia High School Coaches Association All-Star Games
Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., Nansemond River High School, Suffolk
Sam Johnson, Fauquier -- Assistant coach, East team
Thursday, 7:30 p.m., Darling Stadium, Hampton
Jesse Leach, Liberty -- East team
Hank Meadows, Liberty -- East team
Tuesday, 6 p.m., Darling Stadium, Hampton
Brandi Barfield, Potomac Falls -- East team
Wednesday, 2 p.m., War Memorial Stadium, Hampton
Jamie Gambardella, Fauquier -- East team
Jennifer Potts, Loudoun Valley -- East team
Tuesday, 2 p.m., Heritage High School, Newport News
Heather Kelley, Fauquier -- East team
CAPTION: "It was a gut-check when I went in there," Jill Pearson said of the transition from high school to college volleyball at George Mason.