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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Senior spotlight shines on four, star players

The volleyball team huddles up to strategize about the game. Photo credit: Mary Vogel

Stakes were high and so were the emotions at Saturday night’s volleyball game against the Stanislaus State Warriors. Senior night was celebrated for the Wildcats as this was their last regular season home game. Not to mention, whichever team took home the win would also claim first place in the California Collegiate Athletic Association North Division.

All sets were incredibly close as it was evident both teams wanted to claim that first place title. The Wildcats lost to the Warriors three sets to none with the scores of the sets standing at 24-26, 22-25 and 20-25.

The entire match consisted of both teams constantly pulling ahead and falling back. The energy in Acker Gym that night truly made this game a memorable one, especially for the seniors. The crowd was roaring throughout the match and both teams were on their feet cheering for a victory.

The Wildcats celebrated four, star seniors: Brooke Fogel, Kim Wright, Bekah Boyle, and Esti Wilson. During a pregame ceremony, each player was greeted down on the court by their family, friends, Chico State University President Gayle Hutchinson, and Willie the Wildcat.

At the Net
Players Kim Wright and Bekah Boyle await the first strike. Photo credit: Mary Vogel

A rose crown was placed on each seniors’ head and a brief contribution was spoken aloud through the speakers of Acker Gym. Each senior made significant impacts to the Chico State volleyball program and are four crucial players that will be missed on the court next season.

Starting libero Fogel, is a definite leader of this team and her digging skills shine like no other. She entered the 2019 season ranked fourth in digs and sixth in digs per set among all CCAA players.

Additionally, she has a career average of 3.69 digs per set which ranks fifth in Chico State history. Fogel came from Pleasant Valley High School, so she has been playing volleyball in Chico for quite some time now.

“The sense of community in Chico is something that’s really unique and it’s what encouraged me to stay in Chico,” Fogel said. “I’m definitely going to miss it,” Fogel said.

Middle hitter Wright, truly embodies what it means to be a Wildcat. She came in this season with 207 career block assists, 255 total blocks, a .303 hitting percentage, 113 aces, and .80 blocks per set, setting her rankings high in program history. Moreover, aside from her unbelievable stats, Wright has this energy and enthusiasm on the court that is apparent.

Kim Wright is coming down swinging! Photo credit: Mary Vogel

“Kim is one of the most impactful people to ever come through the Chico State program,” head coach Cody Hein said.

Wright wants to apply her energy outside of the court and into her daily life by working with kids and becoming an elementary school teacher.

“I can’t go into anything with 50 percent,” Wright said. “It’s always 100 percent. That’s just how I live my life and that’s what I do on the volleyball court, too,” Wright said.

Outside hitter Boyle, is a dynamic all around student athlete. Majoring in biochemistry, she has earned four CCAA All-Academic honors and two Division II Athletic Directors Academic Achievement Awards. She also currently serves as co-president for the Chico State Student Athlete Advisory Committee.

Boyle is a key attacker for her team’s offense. Going into this season, she already led the Wildcats with a career-high of 324 kills. She truly represents what it means to be a well-rounded athlete.

Ready to Set
Makaela Keeve and Bekah Boyle get ready to set up a play. Photo credit: Mary Vogel

“Playing with these girls that are such high-level athletes has improved my game a lot,” Boyle said. “It’s made me play a lot smarter that I did before. I’ve always been able to play with power, but not necessarily intelligence.”

Defensive specialist Wilson, stands out with her digging ability and service aces. Last season, Wilson achieved 172 digs and 24 aces. She is another key factor to this team that allows the Wildcats to succeed. Wilson entered in as a junior from the College of Southern Idaho, and along came some adjustments.

Wilson mentioned how the team dynamics and level of playing were different from her team prior, but her favorite part about Chico State is her teammates.

The strong and everlasting bond between not only the four seniors but the whole team is evident. These girls share deep friendships off the court, which is only beneficial to their playing on the court.

“You’re coming into a sisterhood, a family, the best memories of your life,” Wright said. “It’s the greatest experience.”

Karina Cope can be reached at [email protected] or @KarinaICope on Twitter.

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