For first-year volleyball player Allie Sundara, volleyball has always been special.
“I always played a lot of sports, but volleyball was the only sport I enjoyed playing,” Sundara said.
Sundara played for Santa Barbara Volleyball Club for five years and her Carpenteria high school team for two. She was named Most Valuable Player for Carpenteria in 2012.
Sundara has continued to display her prowess on the court so far this season. She has played in all eight matches and is fourth on the team in both kills (47) and digs (55).
Even so, Occidental still presented her with new challenges. Sundara changed positions from right side to setter, and she said training is much more intense. Her schedule involves lifting two times a week, cardio two times a week and regular practice for two and a half hours five days a week.
Despite these obstacles, Sundara’s academic transition to college has been smooth overall, in part because she took classes at Santa Barbara City College while in high school. But the most important factor in Sundara’s transition has been her close friendships with her teammates.
“The team is really supportive, and I’ve learned a lot just after the first month of being here,” Sundara said. “I love being part of a team.”
In 2008, William Kim’s (first-year) friends convinced him to join them for a game of water polo. Since then, the sport has been his passion. Kim was a four-year varsity water polo player at Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton, California, where he captained the team. He also competed in the Junior Olympics Championships with Lamorinda Water Polo Club.
Despite his extensive water polo experience in high school, Kim faced an adjustment period upon arriving at Occidental — specifically, he has had to work harder and longer than he did in high school.
“College water polo requires a lot more effort and dedication than high school water polo,” Kim said. “The players are also much stronger and faster than high school players.”
The young player is hoping to generate offensive power for the water polo team and make his mark as a goal-scorer. He has already gotten on the board twice so far this season.
Kim’s interests extend beyond water polo. He was an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction in high school and is planning to study economics at Occidental.
“I hang out with the team, eat a lot of Chipotle and L&L and nap whenever I can,” Kim said.