Courteney Carr’s voice rises with excitement while describing the ultimate moment she experiences on the volleyball court.
“There’s nothing that I love more than putting up a good set and then allowing my teammates the chance to be successful and get a big kill,” said the former Mount Si Wildcat who now sets for the Northwest University squad of Kirkland.
Carr, a junior, began focusing on the setter position at age 12 because she was one of the smaller players on the court. Getting up high at the net wasn’t in the cards back then, so Carr became what she calls the quarterback of the volleyball team. It’s a multi-faceted role where she can be involved in every offensive and defensive play and lead the squad every step of the way.
During her three-year Northwest career, she’s played in 281 games and notched 1,660 assists and 471 digs. She’s also earned academic all-conference honors the last two years.
The Eagles participated in the national tournament her freshman year and finished 11-9 in conference this season. Carr is already excited about next season’s team, which will feature five senior returners.
Carr, who graduated from Mount Si in 2017, lettered all four years on varsity, making the first-team all-league squad her junior and senior years and second team her sophomore season. She served as a captain her final two years of her Wildcat career.
Mount Si coach Bonnie Foote played an integral role in heightening Carr’s passion for the game.
“It definitely gave me a really solid foundation of how to work with a team and how to be a leader. I really think Foote did a really good job of teaching us how to work together,” Carr said.
Carr remembers one fun and vital drill where the Wildcats were split into two teams, and both sides together held one blanket and didn’t speak to each other as they touched the ball to the other side of the blanket.
“It was a really interesting exercise to teach us how important teamwork was and communication and just being connected as a team,” Carr said.
Carr has played volleyball since she was 10 years old and said she has learned to accept failure in the game where rallies are lightning-quick and mistakes appear from out of nowhere. Players need to rebound from a tough spot and move on to the next play.
“That was really hard for me at first ‘cause I definitely grew up kind of being a perfectionist, but volleyball really helped me kind of work through that and figure out how to use that to my advantage,” she said.
With coach Steve Bain at the Northwest helm, Carr’s appreciation for the game is at a premium. She said that Bain not only focuses on investing in girls who are talented volleyball players, but who will fit into the culture of the program. Relationships with teammates and coaches are crucial as well as becoming a good person, she said.
“Every year, my coach always talks about how strangers will come up to him and say how remarkable it is that when you look at us play you can never tell whether we’re winning or losing, ‘cause we always play together with so much joy,” Carr said.
Carr describes herself as a people person. After earning her master’s degree in business administration in about a year and a half, she’d like to meet people through traveling and then build relationships in the business world.
The Reporter asked Carr a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into her life:
What super power would you like to have?
Teleportation. I say teleportation because traveling is really important to me. I had the opportunity to go to Tokyo on an international business trip this last year for my class and it was just amazing. I absolutely loved just experiencing other cultures, I love meeting people and learning about other people and I love trying lots of different types of food. I would love to just be able to teleport all over the world and just see the whole world.
If you could go to dinner with one person, who would that be?
Courtney Thompson, she was a setter for UW and she took them to the national championship (winning in 2005). I was actually at the game where they retired her jersey, and they hadn’t retired any other volleyball player jerseys, so that was really cool to see. I actually also got to meet her because Bonnie Foote coached her U12 year at KJ Volleyball Club, so she came to one of our practices, and that was really cool. I didn’t really get to talk to her, but I’ve just heard a lot of really good things about her. She’s like me, she’s like 5-5, 5-6 … and also she’s on the Olympic team, which is crazy to think that. ‘Cause I always was told that it’s gonna be really hard for you to play DI or play in college because you’re kind of short, and schools aren’t looking for short kids, but she did it. I’d love to just like pick her brain and understand what that special thing she had was that allowed her to be so successful, even though the odds were kind of stacked against her.
What’s something unique about yourself that somebody wouldn’t know about?
I have been competitively riding horses since I was 6 years old. I love volleyball, but horses are my main passion in life. Volleyball might come to an end one day, but I think I’m always gonna be involved in horses.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
My parents always really instilled in me to treat people the way that I would want to be treated. That can be applied in so many different ways. To go along with that, they really enforced me and my sister to be open minded and try to learn from every type of person that we can. People are so diverse, and there’s so many different things you can learn from different people. I just think they always told me to treat people with love and kindness first and learn from them and be open minded and experience things with an open heart.