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Saturday, April 20
The Indiana Daily Student

sports volleyball

Sophomore libero digs being ‘fun-sized’

Caitlin Cox is not short.

That’s what sophomore libero and teammate, sophomore setter Mary Chaudoin, insists.

“I’m not short – I’m fun-sized,” Cox said. “That’s kind of our theme.”

At 5 feet, 2 inches tall, Cox is the shortest player on the IU volleyball team, but that doesn’t describe the size of her game and her importance to the Hoosiers.

“We are a better team with her,” IU volleyball coach Sherry Dunbar said. “She is our fire. She’s so competitive, and when she plays well, usually the whole team plays well.”

Cox said while she understands that being shorter than most players at the collegiate level requires more individual effort, it’s no obstacle or barrier at her position.

“I’m not sure if it’s a disadvantage or an advantage,” she said. “A lot of people joke around about it. But I think that being shorter, I have to work harder. Any back-row player has to work hard. I think I could be the same as a 6-foot specialist.”

Cox also doesn’t let her size dictate her play, diving to save points and taking hard hits on the court, including a blow to the head while chasing a ball heading out of bounds in the Hoosiers’ first match of the IU adidas Classic on Friday.

“I’ve never really hesitated,” Cox said. “I think I’ve just got that in my mind: watch the ball, wherever it is, and make the play.”

Cox had that mentality before coming to IU when she led New Castle Chrysler High School to its first-ever state volleyball championship as a senior in 2007, also earning Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year honors.

Dunbar said that the Springport, Ind. native was described a bit differently than “fun-sized” when she was recruiting Cox to IU.

“They called her ‘Ice,’” Dunbar said, “because when she’s on the floor, she wants to win. She bangs her head, and she’s so mad because she wants to be in every point of the match. You want that player on your team.”

Cox’s prep success translated to college immediately as she was selected to the Big Ten All-Freshman team last year after setting an IU freshman record for digs in a single season with 402.

Cox said her impact and accomplishments so early in her career drove her to be even better this season, and that she and volunteer coach Peter Chang have discussed specifically how she would go about it.

“I have pretty high goals,” she said. “Coach Chang and I have set specific goals for me, and those are kind of between us. If I reach them, that would be great. And I am going to reach them.”

When asked if her teammates tease her about her height, Cox smiled.

“Yes, I get it a lot,” she said. “But I’ve played this sport with 6-foot players for a while, and I’m used to it.”

Chaudoin, a 6-foot, 3-inch setter who arrived at IU with Cox last year, was the first to describe her as “fun-sized.”

“Caitlin and I came in last year together, and we’ve kind of always been on campus together and people would see us and be like ‘Wow, she’s really short,’ and ‘Wow, she’s really tall,’” Chaudoin said. “And I would always say, ‘She’s not short, she’s fun-sized!’”

Chaudoin said she expects Cox to return the favor by coming up with a nickname for her.

“I’m still waiting for that,” she said.

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