Sydney Yogi: A fresh face in the Horns' House
Nov. 12, 2008
Candice Eng, Texas Media Relations
The No. 4 Texas volleyball team serves up a powerhouse lineup loaded with talent and abundant height and among them stands 5-2 freshman defensive specialist Sydney Yogi.
Not only is Yogi transitioning from high school to college, but she is also transitioning from “alohas” to “y’alls.” Although she misses her mom’s cooking and relaxing at the beach, the Hawaii native is adjusting smoothly to her first year as a Longhorn.
“If you think about Texas and Hawaii in terms of location, they are far from each other, but they’re actually not that different,” Yogi said. “The biggest similarity is the people. The people in Texas are so nice and welcoming. The biggest difference is the Texas food, because it’s so rich. I had to adjust a little, but it wasn’t difficult because I love food.”
Of course, Yogi is adjusting to more than just the Texas weather and maneuvering her way around the Forty Acres. She is also juggling life as a student athlete.
“It hasn’t been very difficult because we get great support from the academics staff,” Yogi said. “Knowing the academic support staff wants you to succeed is a big confidence builder.”
Yogi also credits her high school experience for giving her a strong foundation in both academics and athletics. Yogi graduated from Punahou, a Hawaiian college preparatory school ranked in 2008 by Sports Illustrated for having the best high school sports program in the country.
“My school did many things that were similar to colleges, which helped prepare me,” Yogi explained. “We used the same academic scheduling and the academic support, like Texas, was top notch. My volleyball coach came from a university program so our pre-match routines and film study were similar.”
Even with her solid experience, Yogi faces the challenges of competing at a higher level.
“I think the mental game is the biggest adjustment to make,” Yogi said. “I was a little shaken at the beginning, being a freshman and new to everything – the speed and practice routines. I was able to get past that mental block, push myself forward and know that I could do it. Knowing the coaches, staff and players have confidence in me has been a great help.”
With their undeniable chemistry, Yogi sees the team growing every match in their physical and mental smartness.
“I can, 100-percent, say that everyone loves everyone. It is a fun atmosphere to play in every day when you know the person standing next to you wants you to succeed,” Yogi added.
Yogi never had any doubts about joining the defending Big 12 champions.
“I looked at other schools, but nothing can compare to the atmosphere and support you get here in Gregory Gym and all over town,” Yogi said. “Where ever you go, people will come congratulate you on a great game. They’re little things, but you know the community cares about you and they want to see Texas athletics do well.”
Yogi will never forget the feeling of her first home game. Waiting in the elevator, hearing the band play, she couldn’t help but smile as she ran onto the court.
“I remember turning around and saying to Michelle Kocher, ‘Kocher, this is it! We’re finally playing at home,’” Yogi said. “We love home games and the fans are amazing. You can just feel the family atmosphere from the fans and other athletes that come and watch us.”
Though she is currently occupied with volleyball season, Yogi still finds time to enjoy Austin and relax from her busy schedule.
“Austin is such a cool town. I keep hearing about all these things that I just have to go see and do – the parks, recreational activities, restaurants and theatres. I just went to Mozart’s and I loved it,” Yogi said. “There are so many things to do and explore around town that I have yet to discover.”
Yogi also unwinds with her recent cinematic interests.
“I’ve been getting into different kinds of movies that I wouldn’t normally watch. I just finished a German film called The Lives of Others,” Yogi said. “During volleyball season, I bring movies on road trips with me when I don’t have school work. I watch them at night when I need a break from school and volleyball. “
Even though she’s just a freshman, Yogi already knows what she wants to accomplish during her time at Texas, both on and off the court.
“With volleyball, I want to win a national championship. We need to bring home another banner and it’s one of the reasons I came here,” Yogi said. “I want to get a solid education here, study hard, do something that I love and build a good background to pursue other things. The name of Texas just gives you so much when you graduate.”