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March 1, 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 the final member of our freshman class in this Q&A.
Name: Joy Dennis
Hometown: Long Beach, Calif.
High School: Keystone Academy
Head Coach Anna Collier on Joy:
"Joy was one of the premier elite junior beach volleyball players in the country. She's a gifted natural athlete who is hardworking and eager to learn, and her national and international experience in the sport will provide our program with a solid foundation for the future. Joy will make an impact in the starting lineup as a freshman and will be a great representative of USC beach volleyball."
Q: What is your athletic background and how did you end up playing beach volleyball?
JD: Well, I was put into a lot of sports as a kid. I played soccer and golf, did some swimming here and there, and then I was really big on indoor volleyball for a long time. My mom played volleyball in college and so did my older sister, so I had played indoors for about six years. Then I found the beach game, started playing more often back home and ended up liking beach a little bit better. I mean, there was nice weather, sand, palm trees, and snack bars (which are my personal favorite) so how could you not like playing on the beach?
I was also homeschooled and I really liked the flexibility that came along with that because it allowed me to develop my volleyball skills. I had a group of homeschooled friends who played beach volleyball too so we would call each other and be like, "Hey, how does playing at 8 A.M. on Thursday sound? Good? Alright cool!" Then we would play for a few hours in the morning, one of us would go home and do our homework for a bit, and then we'd play some more later in the afternoon. It was pretty cool.
Q: What factored into your decision to pursue beach volleyball?
JD: There was a very influential man in my life named Bill Lovelace, who was my coach. He would just coach a bunch of kids like me for free on the beach, wouldn't take money or anything, and was the sweetest guy. He really taught me a lot about the game when I was growing up and I learned so much from him in particular. One day, we were talking and he told me, "You could either be good at indoor or you could be great at beach, so it's up to you want you want to be." From then, it was easy. Why be good when you can be great?
Q: How did you end up at USC and what was your experience when committing here?
JD: It's actually a pretty funny story. I was going back and forth between USC and UCLA for a while, deciding whether or not to play both beach and indoors or just beach. I was actually going to commit to UCLA—yeah, true story. But I thought about it and knew that beach was really what I wanted to do in the future, and I needed a place to help me get there. So, I eventually decided to call Anna and commit to USC instead. During our phone call, I said, "If you'll still have me, I would really like to play beach volleyball for you." Immediately after, Anna goes, "We would love to have you!" and right after that, I knew I made the right decision. I committed on my 17th birthday and my whole family was there, there was some crying involved too...it was just a great day.
Q: In your first season as a Trojan, what are some things you hope to accomplish and what is the goal for the team?
JD: Personally, I just hope to grow. It's my freshman year and I'm still learning, so I'd like to grow and develop skill-wise to become a better volleyball player. Then, I also want to grow leadership-wise because we have a lot of seniors on the team leaving next year, so I'd like to step up and become a good leader. And for the team goal, it's just to three-peat. That's pretty obvious...three-peat.
DIGGING DEEP w/ Joy:
Favorite Food: Tacos
Cookie: Chocolate chip
TV/Netflix Show: Probably Stranger Things... (fellow frosh) Lainy Thomas got me into it.
Pro Sports Team: Gonna have to go with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Celebrity Crush: The rapper YG
Celebrity Look-alike: People tell me I look like Michelle Obama every single day.
Facebook or Twitter: Twitter
Instagram or Snapchat: Oh that's hard...I'll go with Snapchat.
What's more essential: sunscreen, sunglasses, or a visor? A visor
What's better: a game-winning ace, kill, or block? Most definitely a block.
What's worse: a bad sunglasses tan or a bad spandex tan? A bad spandex tan is horrible.
Dream Beach Partnership: Misty May
Most Memorable Place I've Played Beach: Acapulco, Mexico
If I could play another sport at USC, it would be: I think soccer would be really fun.
Favorite Spot on Campus: I really like the Campus Center because that's where all the food is!
Dream Job/Career: Either playing beach professionally or becoming a child psychologist.
Catch Joy 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.