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Killer ‘Cat: Sophomore hitter Mediano to have breakout season

Nick Martinez-Esquibel

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When sophomore outside hitter Olivia Mediano was growing up, she idolized her older cousins. Whatever they did, naturally she wanted to try.

Her cousins twirled batons, so she twirled a baton. Her cousins played volleyball, so she played volleyball. However, volleyball was where Mediano found her passion for the game.

Mediano.jpg

Olivia Mediano, sophomore outside hitter for the women's volleyball team, is having a breakout season as her kill count piles up. Photo courtesy of Chico Wildcats.

“I just fell in love with it and never wanted to stop playing,” Mediano said.

Mediano has been an integral part of the early success for the volleyball team this season. Last year as a first-year student she totaled 157 kills, good enough for fourth on the team overall.

This year, Mediano has already surpassed her total from last year, compiling 167 kills so far.

She also beat her career high for kills in a single game from last year, contributing 24 kills in a win against Notre Dame de Namur earlier this season.

Torey Thompson, junior setter, said Mediano has been relentless on the court this season.

“She tells me ‘give me the ball, I’m going to put this away,'” Thompson said, “and I just say ‘OK’ because I trust her.”

Mediano attributed her early success to a lot of beach volleyball training over the summer.

“Beach is always a good way to help, especially with jumping,” she said. “There’s a lot of resistance in the sand so it increases your jump.”

As one of the leaders on the team, Mediano leads by example with her hustled play on defense as well as offense. She never takes a play off, and pushes herself to be the best volleyball player she can be, said Tommy Gott, assistant head coach.

“With her work ethic and mentality, the possibilities are endless.” Gott said. “She can be as good as she wants to be.”

Originally from Palm Springs, the 2014 graduate of Palm Springs High School led her team to three straight Desert Valley League titles and four CIF South-Section Championship appearances. In 2013, she won Desert Player of the Year, and was named league MVP her senior year.

During the early stages of her recruitment, she was considering a lot of schools on the east coast. After watching her at a tournament, Chico State contacted her about becoming a Wildcat. Knowing her family would love to keep her in the state, she decided Chico State was far enough away from her hometown but also gave her the opportunity to play in front of family when the team traveled to Southern California, she said.

Her sports idol? Southern California legend and future NFL Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomilson. Mediano grew up watching “LT,” and has been a San Diego Charger fan her whole life.

She admired Tomilson because he advocates a lot of good things and is a genuine person, Mediano said.

She said she hopes that someday someone will look up to her like she looks up to Tomilson.

And just like she looks up to her cousins.

Nick Martinez-Esquibel can be reached at [email protected] or @THENickMartinez on Twitter.

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Killer ‘Cat: Sophomore hitter Mediano to have breakout season