The Rebecca Chae Showcase
In a session of fighting in the trenches, up and down the battle-lines, Santa Monica College's volleyball team has had some heated moments. The team began this season having to start from the ground up, due to having to replace players who left the team from last season. Most of the players, who did not come back, had either been disqualified or choose not to return for personal or individual reasons.
Last season's players were replaced by freshmen, who needed to prove themselves this season because of their perceived lack of experience by some. Besides having to work with all new players, the team also had to work in an all new coach, Nicole Ryan, and former Athletic Director Rhonda Hyatt; both had to work fast and hard to prepare SMC's new and mostly rookie volleyball team for their coming session.
Despite all of the opening and preseason complications of a new team and coaching staff, though it looked like a daunting challenge, Team Captain Rebecca Chase came into the session with a positive outlook and attitude.
She saw "a team that is still green" as an opportunity to show both her and the team's talents.
"That it was fun, we got started this year with a clean slate," said Chase. Chase's past experience with the team helped her this session. Chase has been on the team for the past two years was awarded the rank of team captain in the beginning of this session. Chase began playing Volleyball competitively when she was only nine and since her early beginnings has played in the Nationals Tournaments twice for SMC.
Chase's long career competing in volleyball may be why she has such an outgoing and personal personality. Sitting down she is quite inviting, confident and well rounded person, with lot of positive energy and spirit. As Chase talks about volleyball, she seems to be on fire; there is a great deal of passion in her voice and a little sparkle in her eye, which proves her deep love, devotion and enthusiasm for the game.
Part of Chase's enthusiasm comes from her family which has tradition in the sport that comes from Chase's mother and her aunt.
"My mom and my aunt used to play in this adult league and I use to go and watch. Sometimes they didn't have referees, so I would go up and stand up the podiums and make the calls," said Chase.
Her aunt, Debby Cruise, is actually very well-known in Northern- California for her coaching, starting her own program and club, the Sheldon Volleyball Club.
"I started playing when I was nine or ten, but they didn't have any teams for kids that young, so I started to play up an age or two. I was 14 when my aunt told me you're too good to play for this club now, if want to play in college your going to have to play somewhere else," said Chase.
After leaving the Sheldon Volleyball Club, Chase moved on to Delta Valley Volleyball Club. At Delta Valley, she went to compete in two national tournaments including the junior Olympics.
Chase's years and talent in the game have not gone unrecognized. Recently she was voted unanimously by coaches in her league to be awarded an All Conference Title. By being awarded this title, she is invited to participate in the Sophomore Showcase.
The Sophomore Showcase will allow Chase and other students from other community colleges to display her talents to coaches from schools like UCLA and USC. The coaches come to the Sophomore Showcase to see if there are any participants they would like to add to their volleyball teams.
Although volleyball is a big passion to Chase, it is not part of her career plans. Chase is a psychology major and is planning a career as a counseling psychologist. She still plans to coach on the side while being a counseling psychologist, as she has been coaching teams for past four years, with one competing in the Nationals this year.
Volleyball will always be one major part of Chase's life and has taken her a down a long and exciting journey. It was so important that Chase felt was important to test her passion by taking time off from the sport. "I actually took a year and a half off because I felt so consumed by what I was doing. In doing that, realized that I wanted to come back to the sport and how much drive and passion I feel from playing."