An Exclusive Interview with Senior Libero Tahlyr Banks
This past weekend, Augustana volleyball captured their first win in the NSIC tournament against the Northern State Wolves for the first time in program history. Senior Tahlyr Banks was recently named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team, in addition to Libero of the Year for the second season in a row. The Mirror caught up with Banks on how the season has been progressing.
- How do you feel about this season compared to the seasons of the past couple of years?
– We had a few more losses this season than in the past couple years, but we have still secured our spot in the conference tournament for the third straight season and remain ranked in the top 25 in the country.
- What are the strengths of the team?
– We have a very experienced team this year, and going through a coaching change this season also brought our team closer together. Those two things combined have played a huge role in our success this year and made the court flow more smoothly.
- Do you think there is anything that the team could have done better this season?
– This season was not perfect by any means, and if there was one thing we should have done better, it was get a better start. We dropped some matches early on that have hurt us through the season. Thankfully, it is not about how you start a season, it’s about how you finish. We have positioned ourselves in a great spot heading into postseason and our fate is in our hands, which is a great feeling to have at this point in the season.
- Were there any matches that were harder than you and the team anticipated it to be?
– I don’t think so. Our conference is the toughest Division II conference in the country and we know every night is going to be a tough fight. Half of our conference ranks in the top 25 in the country, and even the teams that aren’t can’t be overlooked because they are still very strong.
- Congratulations on being chosen as Libero of the Year! How do you feel about that?
– It feels great to be recognized, especially in my senior season. [Getting] that honor was pretty special. I know it is an individual award, but it really says a lot about the team as a whole. I wouldn’t be able to do my job without my teammates out there giving their all in every match. It is a full team effort every night and I am fortunate to have such great teammates on the court with me.
- What do you think of Coach Jacobs’ first year coaching you?
– In my time at Augie, I have had three head coaches, [with] two of them being first time head coaches. [During] the first season, it is a learning experience on both sides, for the new coach and the players. Jen [Jacobs] has come in with confidence and helped the team return to the conference tournament in her first season as a head coach. This will be the only season I have with Jen, but I’m excited to see how her coaching style changes and develops as her coaching experience grows.
- Overall, have you liked this season better than other years’?
– Every season is special in it’s own way. This season has been bittersweet knowing that, after years of playing volleyball, it is all coming to an end soon, but I have enjoyed every season I have had at Augustana.
- How do you feel about the legacy you’ve left as a player and a teammate at Augustana’s volleyball team?
– I have been a part of some pretty successful teams during my time at Augie, including a team that returned to the NCAA tournament for the first time in a while. I’m happy to have contributed to the success of those teams. Going through three coaches in my time here has been a challenge, but we have always looked to our team to help us come out of each change stronger. Luckily, my career here is not done yet, and we are positioned really well heading into postseason so I am hoping that we can accomplish some big goals.
- What has been a favorite memory from your career at Augie?
– Making it to the NCAA tournament last season was definitely the highlight of my time here. Last season we also beat Duluth at home, who, at the time, had an undefeated record and was number one in the country. That was a night that I will always remember. To be honest, a lot of the memories I have are from road trips or the locker room and have more to do with the great friendships I have built at Augie and through volleyball. Yes, the games are tons of fun and I look forward to them every weekend, but my teammates are the ones that make playing here special.
- What is the most important lesson you’ve learned from your time on the team?
– It’s really all about the relationships you form along the way. When I look back at my time playing volleyball at Augustana, my teammates are the ones that made it special. I wouldn’t have wanted to battle every night on the court with anyone else. They helped pull the best in me out, and they helped shaped me into the person I am today.