CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – John Jay senior Taylor Hoffman is a team captain and setter on the varsity volleyball team.
How old were you when you started playing volleyball and how did you get started?
I started doing the town clinics with Hen Hud coach Diane Swertfager in fourth grade. But I never actually played on a team. My first team experience was the school’s modified team in seventh grade.
What are the team’s goals/expectations this season?
The team’s goal this season is section finals. That has always been the goal for anyone on the team and it is certainly coach [Tom] Rizzotti’s goal.
As a senior captain on the team, how much do you value being a leader?
I value being a leader a lot. It is important to make sure everyone is following in your footsteps and you’re setting a good example for the rest of the team. I always try to do my best by leading by example. It’s a lot of responsibility, but I definitely enjoy it.
What is your favorite team activity, pregame or postgame ritual that you share with your teammates?
My favorite team activity is going to Empire Bagels before practices or games. During preseason, I think the team went there almost every day for lunch.
Who has been your biggest role model over the years and what have you learned from them?
Ana Dorta (a 2019 John Jay graduate). Ana played basketball with me, not volleyball, but her work ethic is insane. I’ve learned that she never gives up and is always up for a challenge. She’s someone that anyone can look up to and knows how to be a leader.
Tell us one thing about yourself that not a lot of people know?
I’m almost deaf in my left ear and I wear glasses.
Do you plan on continuing to play volleyball in college? If yes, where are you going and why did you pick that school?
Sadly, I do not think I will be playing volleyball in college, at least at an intercollegiate level. I definitely want to play club wherever I go though.
Do you know what you want to study in college? If yes, what and why?
I’m hoping to major in something math or science-related. I’ve always been a math or science kind of girl, so it just kind of fits.
Who is your favorite professional athlete and pro or college sports team?
I’m a big basketball fan so my favorite pro athlete is Stephen Curry, but I’m loyal to New York so I’m a Knicks fan.
What is your favorite music to listen to warming up for a game?
Rap. I need something that’s gonna hype me up before I play.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
I would choose to be invisible. It would be cool to go places without anyone seeing you or just scare your friends.
If you could pick one place to visit on vacation that you’ve never been to, where would you go and why?
I would choose to go to England. The country seems like it has a lot to explore and could make for an interesting trip. I also met a lot of people from there this summer that I’d love to meet up with.
What is your favorite food to eat before or after a game?
I don’t know if this is my favorite food to eat, but my mom almost always brings me a bagel with butter after a game which always settles that postgame hunger.
Best place to eat around the Katonah-Lewisboro area?
The Mount Kisco Diner. I could go there any time of day and be satisfied.
Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram? Why?
Instagram. Once you click on the explore page, you’re doomed for at least an hour. The memes and food videos are endless.
For a young athlete growing up in Katonah-Lewisboro, what would you tell them about the experience of being part of the volleyball program and why should they go out for the team?
I’d tell them that the program is simply amazing. Rizz, who has headed the program for 10-plus years, knows what he’s doing and Christina [Hafkemeyer], our assistant coach, played for John Jay and knows what it’s like. Our new JV coach [Matt] Gallagher is also a great coach and knows how to lead a team. I’ve always been close with the girls on the team and John Jay volleyball will always have my heart.