Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved playing volleyball. I was born and raised in northern California, one of the few places where men’s volleyball is—you know, an actual thing. All four of my siblings played growing up, so while I was little and playing on my Gameboy courtside at all their tournaments, I was unknowingly accruing game-sense and intuition, almost by osmosis. When I got to middle school, I began to seriously play, and I realized I had finally found the sport I loved.
Throughout high school, I began to play at a higher level, and I soon realized that it was important to me to stay with this in some capacity once I went to college. I vividly remember “stalking” the USC club volleyball team’s web page as I was applying here, and being so excited about the idea of it: a more casual environment where I could continue to have fun and stay in shape. Ironically, due to how overwhelmed I was upon first arriving to campus as a freshman, I missed the tryouts in my first fall. But that spring, I joined as a practice player, and the team was even more competitive at a high level than I expected (which makes sense—it is So-Cal, after all). I was extremely rusty at first, even after not having played for just a few months, because until that point I had played several times a week for years. But it was really amazing to get back out there on the court and smack some balls.
Now, as a full-roster player beginning to play in our spring tournaments, it’s a whole new world. A couple of weeks ago, we traveled to a two-day tournament in San Diego as a team, and rented a huge AirBnB to stay in between days. It had a firepit, a lounge area on the roof with an ocean view, and everything else you could want for a San Diego house. Regardless of how the tournament went, it was just great to hang out with friends in such a relaxing environment that most of us hadn’t seen anything like having been on USC’s campus for so long. Long story short, I’m just so grateful to have opportunities like this at USC: great guys, great volleyball, and great experiences.