Skip to main content

Southlake Style

Q&A With Carroll Alumna/Iowa State Libero Caitlin Nolan

Dec 26, 2014 01:10PM ● By Kevin

Photo courtesy of Iowa State Athletics.

Ranked 40th by coming out of high school, Southlake Carroll's Caitlin Nolan was a two-time Libero of the Year. She made all-Texas team honors as a senior and led the Dragons to three-consecutive all-district championships. She finished second at the Amateur Athletic Union Junior National Championship in the 17s division with Texas Advantage club team and earned All-American honors as a senior. She was also the best defensive player or MVP of six separate Texas state tournaments in the last two seasons of high school.

She went to Iowa State University as a freshman in 2012, playing in all 30 matches as a defensive specialist. The following summer, she played libero for the U.S. Junior National Team at U-20 World Championships in the Czech Republic. Since then, she's played successful campaigns with the Cyclones and earned her first Academic All-Big 12 First Team honor in 2013.

Nolan took some time to chat with us about her successes and the future.

Photo courtesy of
Iowa State Athletics.

Southlake Style: Talk about your time at Carroll, successes, and how the school/community shaped you.

Caitlin Nolan: My time at Carroll was great. I played under Coach Arthur [Stanfield] who isn’t there anymore. I played for him for three really good seasons. We were the district champions two of the three seasons. It was a really good experience. I played with a lot of good players who are now playing in college now, which is awesome to see.

Why did you choose Iowa State?

Nolan: I chose Iowa State because I originally wanted to be an engineer. They have one of the top programs in the country. I came here and fell in love with the team and program. We have an awesome coach. I don’t see myself playing for anybody else in college. I feel like I made the best decision. 

SS: So, what are you majoring in now, and what are your future plans?

Nolan: I’m double majoring now in marketing and supply chain management. I'm not really sure about my plans, it’s up in the air. I'm not sure if I want to play volleyball after college or what I want to do. Still trying to figure that out. 

I’ve been thinking about coaching lately. I think it would be a lot of fun to stay in the game. That would be really great. 

SS: Your first two years at Iowa State were extremely successful. What can you attribute those successes to?

Nolan: My freshman and sophomore year, I played [defensive specialist]. It was really nice to get a feel for the game and how college works. It’s different than high school and club. Everyone’s bigger and faster and stronger. I think it really helped me ease my way in and see what college is about; getting those years under my belt with a lot of good experience against a lot of really good teams.

SS: Talk about traveling to the Czech Republic. 

Nolan: Summer before sophomore year, I was chosen to play on the US Junior National Team 20-U. I played in the world championships there. It was a lot fo fun. We competed hard. We didn’t do as good as we thought we were going to do. Teams over there are really good. It’s something I can talk about for the rest of my life because it was such an awesome experience. 

SS: What did you learn in you underclass years, and how have you transitioned into an upper class leader?

Photo courtesy of Iowa State Athletics.

Nolan I think it’s kind of naturally. In high school I played libero. It’s coming back into my own. Talking with the coaches and one-on-one talks, be yourself, you can do this. Motivation and support has really helped along the way. 

SS: What's it like making it to the postseason at the college level? 

Nolan: It’s an honor. I feel like people take it for granted sometimes. Knowing you’re the top 64 in the nation. This year we were in the top 32... you don’t realize it at the time, but you take a step back and say, 'Wow, it’s such an accomplishment and it’s great to see hard work pay off in that way.'

I think it’s always a goal to be better than we were last season. We're losing two really good seniors this year, but bringing back a lot of experience on the team. A lot of people are coming back and I think it’s going to be a really special season next year.

SS: What was the biggest challenge in your collegiate career? 

Nolan: I'd probably say the hardest team we played was Stanford this year because they’re having a great season. They lost one game the whole year, they're No. 1 in the country. They're good all around, good in the middle, outside, at libero... It’s tough and a challenge. It’s good to play against them and good to see how you match up.

SS: Do you have a favorite memory playing at Carroll? 

Nolan: My senior year, we swept Coppell at Coppell. They’re a really tough place to play and a great team. Getting that sweep senior year was a pretty amazing moment.

SS: How about at Iowa State? 

Nolan: Freshman year we beat Nebraska at home and it was really cool. They were second in the country. We came off of a really bad lost. They’re always known for having a great program. The fans rushed the court, which is the first time that’s happened to me before and I’ll never forget it.

SS: Parting words for the community? 

Nolan: I'd like to thank the Southlake community. It's an amazing place to grow up and I'm so proud of where I’m from. It's given me so many opportunities I never had anywhere else. I'm glad to say I’m from there.

Photo courtesy of Iowa State Athletics.