Wilmette, Sports

Athlete of the Week: 10 questions with Stef Kins, Loyola volleyball

Stef Kins was a senior libero for the Ramblers. Kins earned All-State honors while leading Loyola to a fourth-place finish in the state. He will compete with George Mason University starting next year.

1. Do you have any pregame rituals or superstitions?

This high school season I would always make sure to bring tights to wear. And just listen to music and stretch for exactly for 30 minutes, no more, because then I would get tired. 

2. Why George Mason?

I had a few options, but the main goal was I kind of wanted to leave Chicago. George Mason (Fairfax, Virginia) came up and when I went on a visit, I loved the coaches, loved the players, great atmosphere, and they are a great team too. It ended up being a no brainer for me to commit there. 

3. When did you first get into volleyball? 

My mom (Larisa Kins) played Division I volleyball in college at Kent State, and we’re Latvian and there’s a place in Michigan called Long Lake where a bunch of Latvians gather there in summer. I started playing volleyball there when I was young, like 6 or 7 I started messing around. In fifth grade is when I really started playing competitively in club.

4. When did you realize you were a talented defensive specialist?

It was pretty early on. In fifth or sixth grade I was playing up with eighth-graders. Coaches always told me to get ready for your future because you are talented. I took that and got that experience early, which is awesome. I got used to the speed of the game before a lot of people. I see things early and continue to grow in the little things. 

5. If you could play another sport, what would it be?

I would definitely say baseball. I was a pretty good baseball player but when it came down to it I would have to choose between baseball and volleyball — two spring sports in high school. I liked volleyball more, but there are definitely times when I miss baseball. 

6. What is your dream job? 

I’d want to be a lawyer. I have family that are lawyers and it just seems like a job where I can be in control and take over a case in stuff. It is something that interests me and is competitive. That’s kind of my thing. I’m a competitive guy. I think I’d bode well in a law firm of some sort. 

7. What is your favorite thing to do off the court? 

I love to fish, hang out with buddies, go to the beach. I love playing grass volleyball with friends and hanging out with family, friends, watching shows and movies. 

8. If you’re in Walgreens with a couple bucks, what are you buying? 

I am getting a Snickers bar and a Gatorade (yellow). 

9. What is something people don’t know about you? 

In the volleyball world, some people don’t know that I am Latvian and Latvians have a past of being very successful volleyball players. It’s a small community. … Being Latvian helped with my development in becoming an elite player, because I had a bunch of mentors who played Division I volleyball to teach me from a very young age. 

10. Looking back, how would you describe your senior season, which was historic for Loyola volleyball?

It was awesome. The coaches had a plan at the beginning of the year and it included practice and we never switched what we were doing. We did the same thing every day. At some points it was like ‘Why are we doing this?; we want to do something else.’ But we stuck with the plan, and it paid off. It felt so good, getting down (to state) and achieving that with all the hard work we’d been putting in and attention to detail all season — even though we didn’t have the best final day. Being the best team Loyola Academy has ever seen in volleyball is pretty cool. 

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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