Kaitlan Tucker named CCAA Defensive Player of the Week
By Deena Wicker, October 25, 2022
The California Collegiate Athletic Association has announced Cal Poly Pomona Defensive Player of the Week Kaitlan Tucker for the week of Sept. 26-October 26. 2.
Tucker, a central blocker from Bakersfield, received the accolade after two wins over Cal State East Bay and Cal State San Marcos where she had a total of nine blocks. Against CSUEB, Tucker ran eight error-free kills and a season-high 11 kills against CSUSM.
Middle tackles like Tucker aren’t usually recognized for this honor, but her tireless work throughout the season led to this award.
Currently leading all of Division II averaging 1.28 blocks per set, Tucker was surprised to be recognized by the conference.
“I was super excited,” Tucker said. “My blocking stats have been much better than they have ever been. It’s something I worked on a lot, so it was exciting to be recognized by the conference.
Determined to prepare for the season, Tucker used much of her free time in personal training to improve her performance on the field, despite regulations against mandatory off-season training. Additionally, Tucker attended open gym sessions with his teammates to build both skills and relationships.
Through a collaborative effort, CPP’s volleyball stats have been outstanding, displaying their powerful team chemistry according to Tucker.
“It’s super competitive,” Tucker said. “We always push each other and drive to work every day. That way, when I step into a game, it feels like nothing new; that’s what we trained for. It’s just the execution.
Tucker was no stranger to athletics as the daughter of two college athletes. Tucker played various sports, including basketball, football, softball, and tennis in his youth.
Volleyball became mainstream in Tuckers’ life in fifth grade, when a friend who was into the sport invited her to join. From there, Tucker fell in love with volleyball and continued to play in college, progressing through clubs and college.
Tucker’s transition from high school to college volleyball was smooth, although she recognized major differences in game pace and diversity.
“Everybody comes from different places, plays for different coaches and stuff, so that’s the fun thing about college volleyball,” Tucker said. “It’s just different from high school and club where you hang around very similar people or play with the same people for a long time.”
Tucker noted that the most distinct factor between the two levels was engagement alongside changes in pacing and dynamics. In high school, much of her life revolved around volleyball. As a Bronco, his life and the game are indistinguishable.
Between game studies, indoor workouts, practices, travel, games, and team bonding, Tucker finds his college experience intertwined with volleyball.
“It totally consumes your life,” Tucker said. “But it’s really fun and I love it.”
Although many students struggle with time management, Tucker has mastered this skill through his obligations as a varsity athlete and biology major. Procrastination isn’t an option for Tucker, as she aims to build a career as a medical assistant while keeping up with her athletic commitments.
Tucker’s aspirations go beyond the volleyball courts in California, a life she has known for 12 years. After graduation, Tucker expressed plans to travel and participate in a PA program, which can last 24 to 27 months.
Tucker intends to apply to multiple programs due to the competitive nature of the field. Having attended a Californian university as a native of the state, Tucker confirmed her eagerness to expand her experiences as a young adult.
Part of expanding those horizons is through applying to some out-of-state programs, especially in the Midwest.
“I really want to experience something different and new for a few years,” Tucker said. “I 100% see myself living in California when I’m older, and I’ve always lived here, so I’m just like, ‘I need to live somewhere else at some point in my life.'”
Aspirations aside, volleyball will likely remain relevant in Tucker’s life long term. Though unsure of her exact plan after college athletics, Tucker is open to teaching her own kids, club or high school coaching, pro leagues, adult teams, or even competing in a league abroad.
Although excited about the opportunities ahead, Tucker remains focused on having a successful season and moving into her final year as an RPC athlete.
Image courtesy of Kaitlan Tucker