Elise Austin Leaves Mark On PV Program
• Senior Sea King captain leaves program on the upswing and is set for the challenges of D1 competition.
Palos Verdes High girls’ volleyball team just finished their season, and they had quite a run in CIF this year. Making it to the third round, the team made it further this season than ever before.
Although Sea Kings are excited about next season, for senior captain Elise Austin, her time wearing Red and Black has come to a close.
When asked about her relationship with the sport throughout the years, Austin gave us a look back into the years that have led her to where she is now, committed to University of San Diego to play Division 1 volleyball next year.
“I learned how to play volleyball when I was six years old at USYVL, an organization like AYSO,” she said. “It was a few years later, in sixth grade, that I began to play club for Sunshine and have continued along the club track ever since.”
In her early years, she played many sports including soccer, swim and basketball, but, she said, “With volleyball, there was an instant connection and it felt right,” which is how she chose to stick with volleyball above all the rest.
She continues to describe her love for the sport and says “it’s honestly euphoric when I play, there’s nothing like the feeling of strength and happiness that I get when I have a kill.”
Also, she said, “It helps me cope with stress and gives me something to focus on and put a lot of love into.”
Austin couldn’t imagine her life without volleyball, and, luckily, she doesn’t have to, at least not for the next four years as she continues the sport in college.
Austin couldn’t be happier to be playing for University of San Diego next year, making the long process to get there worth it.
She was approached by her first college prospect, USC, the summer before her freshman year of high school. Since then she has contacted many schools and gone on visits all over the country, trying to find the right fit for her. In fact, USD was not on Austin’s radar until much later after she went to a camp there the summer before her junior year and absolutely fell in love.
According to Austin, “There are so many reasons why I love the school. The coaches at USD are amazing, and they balance each other so well, it’s also a pretty low key program which I like, but still Division 1 and very good — thirteenth in the nation, in fact. It’s also beautiful and has a nurturing program that is going to push me and make me a better person.”
Although much of her volleyball career has been spent playing for Sunshine Club, playing for Palos Verdes has been a highlight of her high school years. Austin even calls the high school volleyball season her “favorite part of the year.”
After four years on varsity and her role as captain this year, Austin said “I have made my closest friends through the school volleyball program and have my best memories from the last four years.”
“This year, the PV team has made it further in CIF than ever before and, as the underdogs, “It is such a rush when we win and to see how far we’ve come this season and last season”, said Austin.
As much as Austin loves her high school team, she has an equal place in her heart for her club team. She loves “the intensity and all the opportunities that club has brought that high school never could.”
Although she loves both club and high school, she says there are huge expectations on her on her club team that she doesn’t necessarily face in high school.
Her club team was ranked fifth in the nation last season, and so there is no surprise that the players “are always pushing each other and bettering each other at every practice, she said.
So far, Austin has achieved great things with her love of volleyball, and has four more years of the sport ahead of her, at least. Since there is no professional volleyball in the United States, she plans to make the most of her college career. She would “love to win a national title while at USD and definitely win the West Coast Conference.”
No matter what her future holds, Austin knows that “I want to play volleyball for fun for as long as I can and I would love for my future kids to play it as well. I love the sport and am so thankful for being able to pursue it as long as possible,” she said.