Kelsey Takashima is finishing up her last year playing Pacific volleyball with a bang. Last week Takashima earned the conference honor of Northwest Conference’s Volleyball Student-Athlete of the week.

With 34 kills, a .391 hitting average, five service aces, seven digs and seven blocks in the weekend’s games, Takashima stands as Pacific’s first honoree this season.

“It’s definitely an honor,” said Takashima. “I’m grateful to have it.”

The secrets to her success include her work ethic and the team’s chemistry. Since her freshman year of high school in Hawaii, Takashima has dedicated herself to honing her volleyball skills.

She said her high school coach “was strict but he bred good qualities in us. He taught us to be hard working. He didn’t always take the best athletes, but those who worked the hardest.”

Takashima appreciates her coaches at Pacific as well.

“They care about our opinions. They include us in decision making.”

The coaches contribute to the team chemistry this year, to which Takashima credits much of the team’s success.

“This year, we have that competitive edge,” she said. “We always have that drive to win. We have each others’ backs this year.”

She is referring to the string of injuries several of her teammates have suffered. Lead player Keahi Braginsky-Ahloo was out early in the season due to injury. More recently, Alexa Block was diagnosed with a dislocated shoulder, which will keep her on the bench for the remainder of the season. The team has been forced to adapt.

According to Takashima, the freshman players have stepped up to fill the shoes of their injured teammates.

Takashima is no stranger to injury herself. Having recovered from her toe surgery, necessary after a fracture, she and her teammates are ready to fight for a spot in the playoffs.

Her favorite things about her last year include the team’s bond, the opportunity she had to travel and, of course, the winning.

Takashima is very close with her teammates and they share the common goal of making it to playoffs.

Having worked hard for a shot at the playoffs during her entire career at Pacific, practicing volleyball everyday during both the season and the off-season, she feels ready.

“I just like to go in there and do my job,” Takashima said.

It’s been a challenge to keep up with the academic aspects of her Pacific life, which Takashima describes as a priority, with the traveling, the three hours of practice a day  the two games every week, and her senior project on the energy expenditure of handball players, but it’s all worth it.

“After practice, it’s straight to studying,” Takashima said.

She still gets to see her closest friends a lot, however, because most of them are on the volleyball team with her.

Next year, the exercise science major hopes to attend Pacific’s School of Physical Therapy. She plans on visiting the team after she graduates, and Takashima said, “I’ll never stop playing volleyball; that’s for sure.”

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