While students spent last weekend thawing out after a week of ice and snow, Tech junior Cody Dodd was inching closer and closer to her dream.
Following last season, which earned her a spot on the 2014 All-Ohio Valley Conference team, Dodd accepted an invite to participate at the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team open tryout at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Dodd said Tech Head Coach Dave Zelenock told her after the team’s exit from the OVC tournament during their season wrap-up meetings that she would likely receive a bid to the annual tryout.
“Coach told me at the end of last year that I was probably going to go, so I already kind of knew I might be going,” said Dodd. “When he told me I was officially invited, I just got really excited. I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh — it’s actually happening.’”
The tryout process was directed by U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly and his staff. According to the USA Volleyball website, the open audition evaluated approximately 238 athletes from 93 colleges and universities from across the country. Participants were to be selected for spots on the U.S. Women’s National Team, the U.S. Collegiate National Team program and for the U.S. Women’s Junior National Team for athletes born in 1996 or 1997.
Apart from athletic ability, invitees were also evaluated on their “working knowledge of offensive and defensive systems and terminology consistent with that of a typical mid to high level collegiate program.”
Dodd said the competitive and “all eyes on me” nature of the various tryout drills didn’t seem to intimidate her.
“It wasn’t necessarily the volleyball part that scared me. It really was just the girls that were intimidating at first. They were as big as me,” said Dodd, a six-foot-four Cookeville native. “They were all from these Big Ten and SEC schools and everybody knew who they were, and then I’m from Tennessee Tech. That was probably the most intimidating part for me. I just didn’t know what to think when I first saw them, but once I stepped on the court, I was fine.”
Dodd, who led the Golden Eagles last season with 433 kills, said her play in the tryout took a slow start but that she remains confident in her overall showing.
“The first day (Friday) was a little rough,” said Dodd. “I just remember thinking, ‘Oh, man, this is going to be tough’ because the altitude is so much different. I could barely breathe, but I knew I had to just push through. The next day went really well, and then the third day I think I did even better. I’m really happy about how I played down there.”
While Dodd prepares for her senior season at Tech, she will have to wait patiently until late March or April to learn the results of her tryout.