Kylie Cooke ‘killing’ it for volleyball team


Junior opposite Kylie Cooke tosses the ball in the air as she prepares to serve the ball against Cabrini College Sept. 2. Photo courtesy of Larry Newman

Junior psychology major Kylie Cooke has been a part of the Chapman volleyball team for two seasons and has consistently led the teams in kills and kills per set during her time at Chapman.

“I’ve been playing since I was 12 years old,” Cooke said. “I’m offensively a strong player and over time I just got consistent.”

A “kill” is the term for a spike that, rather than being returned by the other team, lands and results in a point. Cooke, who plays the opposite position for the team, is in charge of turning those spikes into kills.

Cooke transferred from the University of La Verne in her sophomore year, as she said Chapman is academically and athletically a better fit for her.

“I had it hard my freshman year. My worst times at Chapman are still better than the best times I had at my old university,” Cooke said.

An avid sports player, Cooke played soccer, basketball and gymnastics while growing up. She is a two-sport athlete, representing Chapman on both the volleyball and the swim and dive teams.

“I’ve been swimming since I was three,” Cooke said. “So coming to Chapman and being on the diving team was natural to me.”

Cooke said she enjoys going to the beach and hanging out with her friends in her free time. She also said she loves spending time with her golden retriever puppy Nala as much as she can.

“Over the summer, other schools from the conference and clubs in the area get together and we play competitively,” Cooke said. “It’s so much fun and also helps my skills get more well-rounded. I’m always looking to get better.”

As an athlete, Cooke said she has to work out regularly and maintain a certain level of fitness, though there are certain exceptions.

“I do a lot of cardio and more running, but absolutely no heavy weights for my shoulder,” Cooke said. “There’s a certain commitment to eating healthy as a player, but I am very partial to pizza and In-N-Out.”

So far, this training regimen has worked well for Cooke, as she led the team to a winning opening weekend on Sept. 2-3, averaging 3.47 kills per set over the course of four matches.

“Her swing on the right side is really strong,” said Abby Smith, junior co-captain of the women’s volleyball team. “She always plays aggressive which contributes to her high kill percentage.”

As an experienced member of the team, Cooke said she is excited about this season and the dynamic of the team with the new freshmen coming in. Mary Cahill, head coach of the team, believes Cooke will be a mentor for these freshmen.

“She’s a big part of our offense and as an older person, she could help out all the sophomores on our team as well,” Cahill said.

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