NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ -- Elizabeth Blank had played soccer since soon after she began to walk, was an experienced basketball player and she certainly knows her way around a camera.
But less than two years ago, Blank had never had more than just a passing interest in volleyball.
Now, the junior is a varsity captain on the New Providence girls volleyball team, which has a 17-10 record this fall through games of Oct. 22.
"This is Elizabeth's second year playing volleyball," said New Providence girls volleyball head coach Alessandra Finis. "Her freshman year she played soccer. She enjoyed high school volleyball so much last season that she decided on playing club in the offseason."
Blank is the Joe Eberle Weichert Realtors Pioneer Athlete of the Week.
"Elizabeth is extremely dedicated to everything she does," Finis said. "She shows up to every practice, game and fundraising event with a huge smile on her face ready to take on any and all challenges. Her positivity and kind spirit is something that is admired by all of the upperclassmen on varsity with her."
Blank is actually the only junior on a team with nine seniors and one freshman. She also is the school photographer.
TAPinto New Providence tracked Blank down for a question-and-answer session this week.
Q: How has your transition from soccer to volleyball gone?
A: Once I stopped playing soccer and basketball, I went 100% in volleyball. I started volleyball spring of 2018 (it has been around one year and a half since I started) and have not stopped. I have been doing club and clinics. The longest break I took was 3 weeks over this summer. I feel like I really found my sport. Every time I step onto the court I feel so happy and at home which I have never felt with any other sport. Coming into the volleyball community was amazing and so positive. I have made friends from all over the country because of it.
Q: What is it that made you embrace volleyball after playing soccer?
A: It was natural. I played soccer since I could walk so it has always been a part of me and still is. Before high school I only ever played gym volleyball and a few clinics in middle school with my friends but I never took that too seriously. I always thought it was a cool sport but I never thought I was capable of doing it. In the spring of 2018, I was not doing a sport so I signed up for a volleyball clinic just for fun and fell in love with it. My understanding of the game came natural. I felt so content. My parents always say that I had the biggest smile they have ever seen during my first volleyball game.
Q: What has been the best advice you have received from a coach?
A: Everything. I came into the season last year knowing nothing, so everything (coach Finis) said I took in and I still do. I learn something new everyday. She always trying to help me to get better and appreciate it a lot.
Q: What has been your most memorable game to date?
A: As cheesy as it may sound, the first game of preseason is my most memorable game. It was my first volleyball game. I worked so hard over the summer to make the team and to be a starter during the first game was huge. All my hard work paid off. I remember every moment of that game.
Q: What do you like most about New Providence High School?
A: I love my teachers. They are the best supporters. They make such a good environment to learn and grow.
Q: Do you have a favorite subject?
A: Photography and history are my favorite subjects at school.
Q: Who is your favorite athlete?
A: My favorite overall athlete is Stephen Curry. His work ethic is really inspiring.
Q: Do you have a role model?
A: My parents are my biggest role models. My mom left her country to move here which was so brave. She did not know English and was 4,000 miles away from her family. My dad is so smart and inspirational. He is always up for a challenge and over achieves and I hope I am as successful as him one day.
Q: What do you like to do when you are not playing a sport?
A: I love photography! I take photos of everything from portraits to NPHS sport games. I recently have gotten into film photography in school and I love it. I hope to be a photographer as a side job one day!
The Joe Eberle Weichert Realtors Pioneer Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Joe Eberle Weichert Realtors located at 64 Main Street in Chatham. Joe is a 25 year New Providence resident who is an active member of the New Providence community. Contact Joe anytime, whether it's to get started on helping you realize your real estate goals and dreams, or just to ask a question about the local market. Joe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 908-868-4800.