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The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

Middle blocker’s breakout season continues, earns CCAA Player of the Week

Trinity Yates was a catalyst for SFSU volleyball’s four-game win streak
Matthew Ali
Trinity Yates, a Junior on the SFSU women’s volleyball team, poses for a photo on Nov. 13, 2023. (Matthew Ali/Golden Gate Xpress)

San Francisco State University volleyball team’s has found success with a recent four-game win streak including a victory over No. 23 California State University, Los Angeles.

The team has been aided by strong performances from Trinity Yates, who has helped the team climb to No. 4 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association standings but also earn her first CCAA Offensive Player of the Week award.

The senior middle blocker notched 28 kills over the four-game stretch, with a career-best 18 kills in the win over Cal State LA. Yates also ranked sixth in the NCAA with a .443 hit percentage while averaging 4.21 points per set.

She recalled being in the library with a roommate who couldn’t help but break the silence with boisterous excitement after seeing Yates was officially named player of the week. Yates was stunned after the news broke.

“It’s just so nice,” Yates said. “Especially because I’m honestly not used to getting any kind of recognition like that just because I didn’t play much last year, so the fact that I am getting it means a lot.”

Her first few seasons didn’t go as she wanted; they weren’t filled with accolades and recognition. Instead, they were laden with plenty of adversity and self-reflection.

“This season, for me specifically, it’s been really different,” Yates said. “I didn’t play at all last year. I played a little bit in the year before, but really not much. When people were injured, I would go in, but last year I did not play and definitely a lot of personal things happened throughout the year. I just feel like I’m so much different than who I was a year ago.”

Her offseason preparation went beyond volleyball. Yates took time to reassess not only her approach to the game but also embrace her journey and being able to live with the results.

“I was battling with a lot of mental challenges,” Yates said. “For me, I ended up coming to religion. I’m definitely deeply rooted in my faith, Christianity. During the summer, I was just going into the season being like, ‘OK, I could have the chance to play.’ If I do, then obviously, I’m just gonna roll with it and do my best in every single practice and every single game. If my best isn’t enough, that’s okay because I’m letting God take care of everything so just putting all of my trust and all of my faith in God has allowed me to excel. Honestly, it just lets me be confident in my abilities and everything.”

Before every game, the team goes through a visualization process. Yates has found it helpful to incorporate an additional 10-minute visualization exercise along with a prayer she does by herself that she describes as being monumental in allowing her to be fully present before a game — an aspect she struggled with in prior seasons.

“It was just a lot of pressure and I just did not handle it well, so this year has just been a huge shift and making sure that I don’t put that kind of pressure on myself,” Yates said. “At the end of the day, it’s literally putting a ball on the court. Of course, volleyball is my life and it’s all my teammates’ lives, but at the end of the day, there’s so much more to who I am and who every single person is outside of volleyball and that’s what’s more important.”

Izzy Issak, a redshirt junior and outside hitter for the team, witnessed Yates battle adversity throughout her career and marveled at her ability to take advantage of her opportunities.

“Trinity’s been here since I’ve been here. And she hasn’t played the past two seasons for us really, like she was very sparing,” Issak said. “This year, she came in and earned that spot. And I think it just took a little while for our system to click with Trinity and for Trinity to click with the system. But she’s so athletic and she’s such a competitor that when it did click you can see her stats, you can see her play, she’s unstoppable. It’s really nice to see that, especially in a senior and having her last year here be one that is so good. She’s doing a great job.”

Head coach Matt Hoffman mentioned how Yates has become more resilient in her approach and has found different ways to impact the game.

“She worked really hard in the weight room. Over the past year and a half, she got stronger, she’s jumping higher, but the biggest thing has been her consistency on offense,” Hoffman said. “She bounces back when she doesn’t do well or doesn’t have a good game, or doesn’t have a good practice, hit or whatever. She doesn’t dwell on it, she responds very well. She’s just a very hard worker with everything she does. So what this is, is basically the fruits of all of the labor of her working hard and sticking with it. It’s paying off for her.”

Teammate and good friend Brianna Deboer, a junior libero for the team, pointed out how Yates has improved her defense as the season has progressed and her attention to detail on the offensive end has been a factor in her improved efficiency.

“Trinity just being really good and open and honest with the feedback has been huge to building that connection,” Deboer said. “She went from being just a team player last year and playing the roles that she needed to become one of the biggest parts of our offense this year, which has really propelled our success to have a winning season.”

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About the Contributors
Victor Harris Jr
Victor Harris Jr, Podcast Editor
Victor Harris Jr (he/him) is a reporter for Golden Gate Xpress. Raised in Fairfield, California, he is a transfer student from Solano Community College, majoring in Journalism with a minor in Management. During his free time, you can find him watching sports, bowling, gaming, or working on his sports podcast, More Trophies.
Matthew Ali
Matthew Ali, Staff Reporter
Matthew Ali is a reporter for the Golden Gate Xpress. He is a journalism major and works as a wedding and portrait photographer. He is from Los Angeles. He is also of a particularly nerdy persuasion. He enjoys comics, video games, fantasy novels, and tabletop games. He also aspires to write fiction and eventually comic books for DC and Marvel Comics.

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