Hawaii is know for its sandy beaches, great weather and relaxing environment, but around Austin, the Aloha state is know for producing the excellent defensive volleyball players Sydney Yogi and Sarah Palmer.
Last year, Texas starting libero Yogi went down with an injury late in the season. It was Palmer, her backup, who filled in nicely for her.
A freshman, Palmer received instrumental advice and support from Yogi during that period, who coached her through the finer points of playing libero. The advice was helpful because Palmer played an attacking position in high school, outside hitter, and was still working to adjust to playing the defensive libero slot.
“She was always there to cheer me on and support me if I had any questions, and was always there on the bench for me,” Palmer said. “During the final four, she actually wrote me a couple of notes telling me what I should be doing, and staying in that libero mentality, which really helped. I really appreciate all of her support she gave me last season.”
The pair’s journey to Austin started with Yogi, when she committed to Texas over four years ago. While the 40 Acres is a significant distance away from her home in the pacific, when she visited campus, she knew it was the right environment for her.
“I don’t think you can deny the kind of pride that you see when you come and visit the campus,” Yogi said. “It’s like nowhere else you can imagine, burnt orange everywhere is kind of hard to miss. I think you feel a real sense of community here — it’s a just a real special place to be.”
When it came time for Palmer to make a commitment to a school, she looked to Yogi, whose parents are family friends, for advice about the Texas program. Which is when Yogi posed the question, “What better place in the U.S. is there?”
Palmer agreed and decided to come to the Lone Star state.
Yogi doesn’t feel that she had a large influence on Palmer’s decision, though, but she does feel that she made the right choice.
“I didn’t try to convince her to come her or anything, but I answered he questions honestly, and in the end, I think she made a really smart decision,” Yogi said with a wry smile.
Both players have adjusted well to Austin, an immensely different environment in comparison to Hawaii, and love certain aspects of the capital city.
“Austin is so lively,” Palmer said. “There’s always something going on. On any given night, I can look up and see what’s going on and I can find something that would interest me. As opposed to Hawaii where I would just sit around and watch TV or chill with my friends.”
There are certain aspects of Hawaii that are hard to replace though, like the beach. But both players mentioned one thing specifically that is hard to go without.
“The food is definitely the thing I miss the most, my family does kind of a good job sending stuff over, but there are just some things you can’t ship,” Yogi said.
While the food might not compare to their usual Hawaiian diet, they both have found a home in Austin and are a huge part of the No. 8 ranked Longhorns, success. Yogi, Palmer and the rest of the team will be back in action tonight against rival Oklahoma who they went 2-0 against last year.