By Alex Korhely-Day | Mangaing Editor
Positioned front and center, anticipating where the spiked volleyball is going and preparing to block it when it comes is part of the daily routine for Malika O’Brien, sophomore kinesology major.
As middle blocker for the California Baptist University volleyball team, O’Brien has become a strong, key player for the Lancers as she begins her second season.
Originally from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., O’Brien, though not far from her family, found home at CBU.
O’Brien explained that she chose California Baptist University because she enjoyed the small campus, the overall atmosphere, the volleyball coaches and the chance to continue playing the sport she loves.
“My favorite part about playing at CBU is the student body support and the fans,” O’Brien said. Although O’Brien is a strong player on the court, volleyball was not always something that she enjoyed.
Originally beginning in soccer, O’Brien said she realized that she did not have the passion for it.
“My mom joked around one day and told me if I switched, it had to be a tall sport, so I chose volleyball,” O’Brien said, explaining why she transitioned into volleyball after soccer.
O’Brien said she enjoys volleyball because of the fast pace and explosive demands the sport requires of players.
Even off the court, O’Brien has proven to be more than just a great player.
Teammate and friend, Taylor Parker, senior business administration major, has been able to get to know O’Brien over the past three years of playing together .
“She is a fun, snuggly, cat-loving gal who brightens up an entire room with just her smile,” Parker said.
On the court, Parker explained that O’Brien is a fierce competitor.
“(Her vertical jump) definitely helps her on the court,” Parker said. “It helps her to jump higher than the Empire State Building and go to pound town on the court.”
Once O’Brien graduates, she plans to become a strength and condition coach, but also get into the field of nutrition for athletes in universities.
While being a student- athlete can pose to be quite a challenge, O’Brien has found a way to achieve success both on the court and in the classroom.
“I would say get lots of sleep,” O’Brien said. “Also, time management is key. Get your homework done and do the fun stuff later.”