Volleyball player brings leadership to team

Palomar men’s volleyball players Austin Pippen (#2) and Trey White (#7 ) jump in the air to block a spiked ball in game two against San Diego City on Feb. 29, 2012 at the Dome. Brian Korec/Telescope

Trey White has certainly come a long way since his first club volleyball workout as a junior in high school. The San Diego native can still remember the moment in his athletic career when he traded in his basketball for a volleyball. White recalled hardly getting to play because he was the new guy and the coaches already had their favorites.

“It just gave me a motive to want to play and be if not good, than better than the guys who have been on the club team,” White said. “It also gave me the drive to show the coaches what I can do and what I’m made of.”

Now a 6-foot, 5-inch sophomore outside hitter and opposite playing for the Palomar College men’s volleyball team, White has proven that he is a force to be reckoned with on the courts. For the 2012 season, he averaged 2.79 kills per game, placing him seventh overall in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference and finished the year with 145 kills in 52 sets, according to a statistics report compiled by Chris Ruiz via cccaasports.org. He was also named second team All-Conference.

Head coach Bjorn Dahl said that he has seen much improvement in White’s confidence compared to his first year.

“He knows now that he can play and have a lot of success at this level. So he would never back down from a fight or a tough position opponents would put him in,” Dahl said.

His never-back-down attitude was reflective of his play in the last and most memorable game of the season against Orange Coast College, according to White, more so because it was an accomplishment of his own.

“We were losing bad, 24-15. Game point was at 25,” White said, “And in the final set I ended up hitting a kitty ball. I smashed it on the 10-foot line for the last point. It got everyone excited and it was just a great way to end the season even though we lost.”

Teammate Koby Matsukado shared his thoughts on White’s character.

“He is always thinking of ways to get the next point,” he said. “I can see it when he plays that he knows the weight of the game, his team and the crowd are counting on him. But win or lose, he’s never showed a negative attitude or opinion against the team.”

Matsukado added that White has had a heavy influence on the team.

“He has the ability to get us pumped with one hit,” he said. “Sometimes he underestimates his playing ability and seems hesitant, but I like to think of him as a sleeping giant.  Once you awaken Trey I say, good luck stopping him.”

White expressed gratitude to his Palomar coaches for helping him further develop and grow as a player.

“The coaches this year helped show me how to apply the knowledge that I previously learned in the game and how to successfully use that knowledge and my skills to my advantage on the court,” White said.

But he does not have any plans on stopping there. White is always looking for ways to improve.

“I know I am strong at hitting,” White said. “My team usually looks for me to do that and everyone in the league knows it.  So a lot of times other teams will purposely try to serve me because they know I am not as strong in passing. That is something I would like to work on as a player.”

Dahl added that White’s biggest strength is his athleticism.

“He really could elevate himself as a player if he was focused on volleyball off the court more,” he said. “Some weights and video work could propel him to the next level.”

While volleyball has been really important to White, he makes clear that school is just as important. The 20-year old is majoring in Mass Communications and said he would love to be able to do something like creating design concepts for cars or advertising for a big company.  But if given the opportunity, White said he would play volleyball professionally.

“I definitely think he has the potential to play at a four-year school or even a club team,” Dahl added. “He is following up on a couple opportunities in California and some on the East Coast.”

Finally, White emphasized one last point that he hopes to instill in those that hear his story.

“If you have a motive to do something, then you should do whatever it is you can to get out there and take advantage of that opportunity,” White said. “If you work hard and show people what you can do, you are already one step closer to your dream.”


Author: Jacqueline Coble

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