Srivastava first DIII Player of the Week in Chapman volleyball history

player of the week
Sophomore Sophie Srivastava has carried her award-winning play from her freshman year into her sophomore season, taking home the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division III Player of the Week award after a standout performance at the Cal Lu Fornia Invitational the weekend of Sept. 6. Photos by Makayla Gallimore, staff photographer

It’s only her second year at Chapman, but Sophie Srivastava is already setting records for the women’s volleyball team. With standout play the weekend of Sept. 6, which included two triple-doubles (over 10 kills, sets and digs in a match), she became one of only eight National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III volleyball players with multiple triple-doubles this season. As a result, she was named the Division III player of the week by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, becoming the first recipient of such an award in Chapman athletics history.

“It’s a huge honor. I’m grateful to have received it and I’m grateful for my coaches and teammates for getting me into a position where I could receive the award,” Srivastava said.

Head coach Mary Cahill said she’s never had a setter who could hit as well as Srivastava. And for the sophomore psychology major, things are picking up where they left off at the end of last season – she’s part of a Chapman squad that won all four of their matches in the Cal Lu Fornia Invitational Sept. 6 in Thousand Oaks, California.

As a freshman, she led the team in assists, had 12 triple-doubles, and ranked third in Chapman Athletics history for assisted blocks in a single season. She won the Outstanding First Year award for high level of play and contribution to the team.

“She was second in the nation in triple-doubles,” said Cahill. “She was a big leader on the team, stood out and did a great job for us for her freshman year.”

The women’s volleyball team has started this season strong; they currently sit second in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) standings with a record of 8-2. It’s Srivastava’s leadership, both as a setter on the floor and guide off of it, that freshman health science major Kayla Kluemper believes drives the team to play at a higher level.

“Even though she’s a sophomore, we still look up to her as an upperclassman. Her ability to run the floor as a setter and to be in the front row — she’s a leader,” Kluemper said. “Off the court, she’s always the one that’s including people in meals and what we do. She’s been super inclusive.”

player of the week
Srivastava, American Volleyball Coaches Association Division III Player of the Week

That sense of camaraderie is an attitude Srivastava carries in her matches. She refuses to put herself or her own performance over the team’s greater good.

“When I’m on the court, I never feel like I’m doing that well because I’m so focused on the team and what’s happening that I’m not focused on myself,” Srivastava said. “It’s a bigger picture.”

The team’s undefeated run at the invitational included three matches with wins in which the Panthers didn’t concede a single set to their opponents. Cahill said Srivastava’s performance was instrumental in those victories.

“That was only our second weekend of playing, so it was just about getting everybody on board and playing as a team,” the coach said. “Once other people stepped up, Sophie was able to take advantage of good sets.”

Even with her new accolade, Srivastava maintains focus on her team. She has the goal of earning a top-two SCIAC standing and a spot in the playoffs. The award motivates her to continue her high standard of play and pushes her teammates to continue setting records.

“She has the team number one in her heart, working for the team and nothing individual,” Cahill said. “Her personality is a great fit to be a great team captain.”