Chico state women's volleyball coming off a winning 14-12 season last year. For the second time in program history, the lady wildcats start their season the best way possible, a trip to Hawaii.
Brooke Ono is one of seven new wildcat faces this year. She’s no stranger to Hawaii where she grew up before starring at ponderosa high school just east of Sacramento. With multiple options, why chico?
Ono says, “I didn’t even know these girls and I felt like I knew them and grew up with them…it felt like home.”
Home, a place where Coach Cody Hein has built for 17 years as the women's volleyball coach. Hein has dealt with a lifelong battle with heart issues. So much recently, he had to step away late last year.
Giving everything he’s got, he’s back and has his girls to thank. “They’re what drive you, they’re what keep you going. They keep me young and it’s exhilarating.”
With back-to-back tournaments in Hawaii and La Jolla, there's a quite a few distractions outside their hotel walls. Luckily, Coach Hein has taught them well. “We've been trained that when it's game time it's game time,” said Senior Brooke Fogel. “...once you're inside of the gym, it's just another gym so we kind of got the best of both worlds,” she added.
Evelyn Clonts, a well-decorated junior college transfer, appreciates the balance that this Hawaii trip will bring. “I think that we have a good balance of like fun and being in the hotel room doing homework and then going to just focus on volleyball… I think that getting a good balance of everything while we're there is going to help us stay focused when we play.”
The Wildcats will start this five-day trip competing in the Hawaii Challenge with their first game against Minot State on September 5th.