It's been nearly 30 years since the Charleston Southern Volleyball team has gone 4-0 in conference play, and according to senior middle blocker Connor Malone, the success is largely due to the this year's team mindset.
"I think mentally, everyone on the team is checked in," Malone said. "I think the biggest difference in our program this year is that every position has so much depth that people are constantly competing for that spot, so you're forced to keep your game up."
We sat down with Malone ahead of tonight's matchup against Radford (the only other undefeated team in the conference) and got to know the senior power player a little better.
Favorite pro sports team: LA Clippers
Favorite pre-game meal: Teriyaki Chicken and White Rice
Secret talent or fact: I can grab the basketball rim.
Favorite class: Business Ethics
What is your spirit animal? Definitely, a lion because I'm very competitive and boisterous
Strangest nickname you have: Watermalone
Most surprising/embarrassing song on your iPhone: 'I Believe I Can Fly' by R. Kelly
Two words to describe you on the court: Competitive and aggressive
Two words to describe you off the court: Funny and silly
Best advice you've ever gotten: Don't be afraid to fail
Favorite ice cream flavor: Cookie dough
Mountains or beach? Beach
All-time favorite sporting moment from your time here at CSU: Last year, we played Radford in our first conference match (which is who we are playing on Friday) and I played outside hitter, which I had never played before in college. That was our first conference game we won and I had my career high of kills, it was just insane.
What do you want to do when you graduate? I would like to play volleyball overseas or be a marketing director.
Favorite TV show: Bob's Burgers
Place you would most like to visit? Versailles in France
Favorite sport to play/watch outside of volleyball: I don't play any other sports besides volleyball, but I guess ping-pong. The sport I most enjoy watching would be the NBA.
Do you have any superstitions or pre-game rituals? I like to watch Michael Jordan highlight videos before every game.
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Corned beef and cabbage with potatoes
If you were a super-hero, what superpower would you have? Definitely the ability to read minds
What are your hobbies outside of volleyball? I like to draw and I also like babysitting and hanging out with kids.
If you could go back in time, what decade would you travel to? The 1920's
Malone told us she has set her own personal goals for her final season, while also keeping the bigger team goal in focus.
"I would like to have the highest hitting percentage from the right side in the Big South, Malone said. "But as a team goal, we want to win the Big South Conference."
Looking back on her time as a student-athlete here at CSU, Malone says she'll have plenty to miss once the season concludes.
"The thing I'll miss most about being a student-athlete at CSU is the fans," Malone said. "Because it's such a small gym, you really can feel everyone getting hyped and excited about every point. It's fun after a game when you have people come up to you that you don't even know and they'll say things like, 'Great game on Friday!' and you don't even know who they are, but they're so involved and supportive of you.
You can show your support for the Bucs this weekend as they host Radford tonight at 7 p.m. and Liberty University tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m at the Buccaneer Field House.