Yogi settled into defensive role
Sept. 9, 2010
Natalie England, TexasSports.com
Have it her way, and Sydney Yogi is a singing and dancing drama queen. As a youngster, she and her best friend caught trouble at home, because they preferred harmonies at the table instead of homework.
Yogi’s Texas Volleyball teammates usually just call her “The Radio” because her voice is a constant echo to whatever locker room tune is playing.
“Before I ever played volleyball, I was in all these drama clubs and musical theatre. It’s what I love to do,” Yogi says. “I would still love to do that if I had the time -- or if I was really decent at it.”
Yogi’s on-court persona belies all this. She’s the lady in black, the stoic baseline defender, who uses her body as a shield. However sensational her dig, it will rarely provoke the shouts of a dynamic kill, and Yogi is fine with this.
As a volleyball player, Yogi is more than content to leave the drama at home.
She grew up playing in her native Hawaii, where the sport is ingrained in the culture. Her parents played in recreation leagues, so Yogi was peppering by the age of 2. She started playing club volleyball at the earliest possible age -- 11.
Yogi says it wasn’t until high school, however, that she realized she wasn’t tall. She knew then she would never be a hitter, but Yogi knew she still wanted to be a player, so she adjusted as necessary.
First, she tried setting, then became a full-time defender.
“It was easy to pick up because I’m smaller and it’s easy to hit the floor,” says Yogi, a proud 5-foot-2. “I’m glad I made the switch. It’s fun to be in this role. I’ve always been really determined.”
And this is what Jerritt Elliott immediately liked about Yogi. Her club team played in an Austin tournament when Yogi was a high school freshman, and the coach arranged a campus tour with Elliott. He was talking to the team in the locker room, explaining what college is about and what it means to be a Longhorn. Yogi raised her hand.
“Would you ever recruit a player as short as me?” she asked. “Yes, if you have fire and determination and you work really hard,” Elliott answered.
It also helped that Yogi had talent and technical fundamentals. After that summer trip, Elliott and the Longhorns followed Yogi closely, and he even made a trip to Hawaii to watch her practice.
“We just fell in love with her and her family,” Elliott says. “It’s a fun little story, because she’s been a great contribution to the program and helped start some ties with us to Hawaii. She certainly helped us get Sarah Palmer. We’re fortunate to have her.”