Passion for helping people translates well for Holy Trinity’s Yochim


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Holy Trinity's Olivia Yochim finished second on the team in blocks and third in kills last season. This year, she will be asked to take on a bigger leadership role.

Carl Kotala

There’s a reason why Holy Trinity senior Olivia Yochim is considering a career in the medical field.

“I’ve always had a passion for helping people,” she said.

Well, that same passion is why Yochim also is embracing another role as one of three seniors on this year’s Holy Trinity volleyball team: a chance to help the younger players grow up on the court.

“Last year, we depended on Olivia quite a bit on the court and she showed she can deliver as she was highly ranked on the team in both kills and blocks,” Holy Trinity coach Pete Klonowski wrote in an email.

“This year, her role will expand to include more leadership responsibilities. Olivia will be a senior this year and we will be a young team with only four returning players. 

“She will need to help instruct our new players on our gym culture, attitude, how to prepare for practices and matches, etc. I know she will be up to the task.”

Though admittedly shy, Yochim said she opens up more when she is on the court. And she’s eager to show her younger teammates what the Tigers’ culture is all about.

“We’re dedicated and all of us are really motivated,” Yochim said. “We also like to have fun on the court. We all like to pursue the ball. Once all the new players are comfortable … it becomes more of a family thing.

“We always want to help each other, build each other up and help each other become better players individually as it helps the team.”

As eager as she is to assist her new teammates, Yochim is looking forward to simply meeting them.

After months of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, the original starting date of July 27 was pushed back. The FHSAA voted last month to approve a start date of Aug. 24 for the beginning of fall sports. However, under guidelines released by Brevard Public Schools, volleyball practice won’t begin until Aug. 31 with the first games set to be played the week of September 14.

After moving up to varsity as a sophomore, Yochim really took on a bigger role and really stepped up her game as a junior, finishing third on the team with 112 kills and second with 33 total blocks as the Tigers claimed their seventh straight district championship.

In order for the Tigers to have another successful season, Yochim will have to team with returning sophomore Sophia Panarese and seniors Mackenzie Sands and Taylor Mullen to bring along the younger players to keep Holy Trinity among the county’s top programs.

Under the new format created by BPS, the Tigers have been placed in one of two divisions as part of an in-county only schedule. Holy Trinity will face Astronaut, Space Coast, West Shore, Edgewood, Merritt Island, Titusville, Satellite and Cocoa Beach. Teams can play a maximum of 12 regular-season games and there will be a chance to take part in the state championship series.

Yochim said she and her returning teammates are determined to push through practices and games and will speak to the new players to try to motivate them to succeed, just like the older players did for them when they were first coming up.

That’s not all Yochim wants to leave with the younger Tigers. From team dinners and sleepovers, to a pre-game prayer circle and dance party in the locker room, she wants to leave all the traditions of the Holy Trinity volleyball program behind.

“I just want to see them grow,” she said. “When we leave this year, I want the younger players to take the team on and do what we did for them. I want them to carry on the team traditions.”

Though she is not sure where she will go to college next year, or whether or not she will continue to play volleyball, Yochim knows she wants to pursue a career in the medical field. The specific area of study will be determined at a later date.

Right now, Yochim is just eager to get back on the court and start swinging and blocking again.

“I’m ready to get this show on the road,” she said with a smile.