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From the Sidelines: Savvy Simo reflects on time at UCLA, plans to return after senior season cut short

Senior Savvy Simo has won back-to-back national championships as a member of UCLA beach volleyball. Before the 2020 season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, she had started every match on court one. (Photo by Alice Naland/Daily Bruin, illustration by Calista Wu/Design director)

By Savvy Simo

April 28, 2020 4:20 p.m.

The “From the Sidelines” series aims to give student-athletes a chance to share their stories in their own words. The first testimony comes from UCLA indoor and beach volleyball senior Savvy Simo, who has recently announced she will take a fifth year in response to the cancellation of what would have been her eighth campaign as a Bruin.

Going into my senior beach season, I was the happiest and most content with myself I have ever been.

I had struggled with anxiety in years past, and it made me question myself and the sport I loved. With the help of others, I overcame that and found myself again in my final indoor and beach volleyball seasons.

This beach season was going to mean so much to me because it was the last season I would ever get to compete in a UCLA jersey.

Unfortunately, my senior year got cut short due to circumstances completely out of my control. It was heartbreaking, not only for me but for my teammates and every other athlete competing across the country.

These last few weeks without my school, my teammates and volleyball have been some of the hardest times I have ever been through.

Still, looking back at my three and a half years at UCLA, I could not be more thankful for the experiences that I was able to have.

Not everyone can say they played in Pauley Pavilion. Not everyone can say they have met professional athletes such as Lebron James and Kevin Durant just because they trained in the same practice gym.

Not everyone can say they are friends with Lonzo Ball, TJ Leaf, Josh Rosen, Kyla Ross, Madison Kocian and many others who have gone on to compete at the professional level or in the Olympics.

Not everyone can say they won back-to-back national championships with the most amazing and talented girls in the world. Not everyone can say they have been coached by some of the best to ever play the game.

And lastly, not everyone has had the privilege to play with those four letters across their chest. There is nothing like being a Bruin, and nothing will ever compare.

UCLA was always my dream school. I remember wanting to go here ever since I started thinking about college. When I went on my visit, I knew right then that it was the place for me – the campus was beautiful, the people were amazing, it was the No. 1 public university in the world and a place with the slogan “Champions Made Here.”

Although I was able to attend my dream school, the journey was never as easy as many might think. I faced a lot of adversity during my time at UCLA.

But I have always been able to get through it because of where I was and the people I was surrounded by. I was never alone, I was never disregarded and I was never given up on.

There are always going to be things and people that will try to bring you down, but because of UCLA, I was able to meet those who will bring me back up and support me all the way.

Right now is no different.

With everything going on in the world right now, I continue to rely on my UCLA support system – which is why I plan on making use of my NCAA-granted additional collegiate eligibility.

I can find comfort in knowing I have the opportunity to go back to UCLA and compete alongside my best friends and a coaching staff that supports me and the team more than anything.

I look forward to getting the chance to play with my best friends at Mapes Beach for one final ride. Everything happens for a reason, and the Bruins will be back.

Once a Bruin, always a Bruin.

Forever,
Savvy Simo, No. 11

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