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Wildcat Watch: Sable Villaescusa

Nick Reddy

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Former Chico State volleyball player Sable Villaescusa (No. 9, bottom row second from left) spent time playing for a USA amateur team after her days as a Wildcat. Photo courtesy Sable Villaescusa

Chico State has produced many exceptional women’s volleyball players over the years. 2012 graduate Sable Villaescusa, the school’s career leader in assists, is one of those greats, and she has kept busy since leaving Chico.

After concluding a stellar career and earning a degree in English studies with a minor in humanities, Villaescusa participated with USA Athletes International, a program providing amateur athletes a chance to compete in Olympics-style competition around the world. She represented the U.S. in the 2013 ITCG DKV Tournament in Groningen, Holland.

Her team won the championship, but she was grateful for more than just success on the court, Villaescusa said.

“It was an amazing experience not only athletically, but also (gave) me the opportunity to travel and see another cultures,” she said.

After that, Villaescusa didn’t pursue playing professionally. She wanted to stay involved in the sport, however, so she turned to coaching. Villaescusa currently serves as the junior varsity coach for the girl’s volleyball team at Alta Loma High School, as well as directs the Rancho Valley Volleyball Club 16-and-under squad.

Getting into coaching after graduating seemed like a logical choice for Villaescusa, who started playing volleyball at a young age.

“I started playing volleyball when I was around 9 years old and have loved it ever since,” she said. “It has been a huge factor in my life for so long that coaching felt like a natural decision. Also, I had already been helping to coach sports camps for younger kids ever since I was in high school.”

She also plans to further her education by attending graduate school, she said. Her time as a student-athlete at Chico State helped in the transition to the real world.

“Being a student-athlete helps teach you how to work well with others, whether it be with your teammates or a group project in class,” Villaescusa said. “It has definitely helped me learn how to manage my time.”

With many memories from her own teams, Villaescusa did have advice for some of her teammates who are now seniors on this year’s team. She urges players to connect with each other off the court, because it makes everyone better when the matches roll around.

“Teams that truly care about each other naturally tend to play better because they want to see each other succeed,” Villaescusa said. “It also makes those times that you do win so much more special that you get to share that feeling with your friends.”

Current senior player Ellie Larronde was a sophomore when Villaescusa was leading the Wildcats as a senior. Larronde was quick to praise her old setter.

“Sable was the type of player that made you want to be better,” she said. “She was a leader on and off the court. She always gave it her all, no matter what we were doing.”

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Sable Villaescusa Career Highlights

  • Ranks first All-Time in assists with 4,575

  • Chico State was 75-42 over her four years

  • AVCA All-West Region Honorable Mention as a first-year

  • Daktronics second team All-West Region as a first-year

  • Two time All-CCAA second team recipient as a sophomore and junior

  • Had a career high and conference leading 1,223 assists as a senior

  • All-CCAA first team and AVCA All-West Region first team as a senior

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Nick Reddy can be reached at [email protected] or @NickIsReddy on Twitter.

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Wildcat Watch: Sable Villaescusa