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Feb. 15, 2017
The two-time defending national champion USC beach volleyball team welcomes five newcomers to Troy for the 2017 season. Before they begin their title defense on Saturday, March 4th in Malibu, get to know one of the four freshmen in this Q&A.
Name: Lainy Thomas
Hometown: Frisco, Texas
High School: Frisco HS
Major: International Relations - Global Business
Head Coach Anna Collier on Lainy:
"Lainy was one of the top junior beach volleyball players in the nation and she competed for the premier beach club in Texas. She has a positive demeanor, is easy to play with, and her athleticism allows her to play even taller than her height. We expect Lainy to be a solid performer for us."
Q: As one of only three non-Californians on the roster, how did you get into beach volleyball and what is the beach scene like in Texas?
LT: I've played indoor volleyball since I was in the fifth grade and had my mom as a coach, so I've always liked volleyball a lot. Then I had another coach who thought I'd be good at beach volleyball because I could play so many different positions, which is what you need to do in the beach game, so I started playing with some friends back home and it just went from there.
In Texas, the game has definitely been growing too. I live about 20 minutes north of Dallas so there are a few lakes around us, but the nearest actual beach would probably be in Galveston, which is about a 6-hour drive. It's pretty far, but there are a few clubs that offer beach now, which is cool. We played on man-made beach courts, but it was still pretty fun.
Q: You were an accomplished indoor prep player back home. Why did you decide to switch to beach-only for college and come to USC?
LT: I just really like how the beach game is much more individualized overall. Plus, it's a lot nicer to play on a beach and in the sand versus indoors and under the bright lights. I've always wanted to go to California for college too, so when I started playing beach specifically, I looked at schools out here and knew USC was a top program. Then I met Anna Collier at a USA High Performance tryout in Dallas and she invited me to come visit campus towards the end of my sophomore year, so we just went back and forth after that.
Q: What has that adjustment been like coming from Texas to now living in a city like Los Angeles?
LT: It's actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. I've had people to help guide me while I've been here, which is really nice. There's a big family aspect between all the sports teams around here at USC and all the girls on the team have really helped me a lot too. Los Angeles is also pretty different with all the people and the environment in general, but I like it a lot. It's very diverse and there's just so much to do.
Q: The team is filled with many experienced upperclassmen this season. What has it been like competing with them in practice and what do you hope to contribute in your first season?
LT: Oh it's been great. The seniors are all really good at what they do and they've been helping us out through practices and workouts, getting us adjusted to what it's like being a student-athlete. They want us to become better players and want us to play our hardest every time we go out there, so we've all learned so much from them and it's been fun. As for this season, I just really want to contribute as much as I can as a freshman, whether that be playing or just supporting the team in any way I can.
DIGGING DEEP w/ Lainy:
Favorite Food: Pasta--anything Italian!
Go-To Snack: Goldfish
Pizza Topping: Pepperoni
TV/Netflix Show: Stranger Things
Pro Sports Team: The Dallas Stars
Musical Artist: Coldplay and The 1975
Celebrity Look-alike: People say that me and (fellow frosh) Cammie Dorn look similar. We've been mistaken for sisters a few times actually.
Facebook or Twitter: Twitter
Instagram or Snapchat: Ooh, that's a hard one...Instagram.
If I could be on one reality show, it would be: The Amazing Race, just to travel to different places.
If I could play another sport at USC, it would be: Tennis
What I miss most about home is: The fact that it rains!
Dream Job/Career: Something in business or finance where I'd get to travel.
What's more essential: sunscreen, sunglasses, or a visor? Sunglasses
What's better: a game-winning ace, kill, or block? Game-winning ace
What's worse: a bad sunglasses tan or a bad spandex tan? Bad spandex tan!
Dream Beach Partnership: April Ross
Catch Lainy and the rest of the Women of Troy in action when they host their annual Cardinal and Gold Alumni Match at Merle Norman Stadium on Thursday, March 2nd at 6 p.m. For more information on the USC beach volleyball team and a complete 2017 schedule, please visit USCTrojans.com and follow @USCBeach on Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, Instagram, and Snapchat.