Hawai’i Volleyball’s Brooke Van Sickle experiences senior season suspended by COVID-19 for the second time in a matter of months


Brooke Van Sickle

A big decision was made by the Big West Conference on Wednesday, postponing the upcoming fall season through the remainder of 2020 putting the University of Hawaii women’s volleyball team’s BWC title defense in jeopardy.

That’s a scenario that one Rainbow Wahine has lived through twice in the last four and a half months.

Back on March 11, just hours after the iconic cancellation of the Jazz/Thunder NBA game that served as the first visual domino to fall in the COVID-19 pandemic, senior Brooke Van Sickle and her UH Beach Volleyball team loaded the buses for a six match road swing in Florida. Where upon arriving in the Sunshine State two days later, they would learn that the sun had set on their season as spring sports was canceled to coronavirus health concerns.

“It was kind of brutal. We touched down in Florida super stoked and then yeah, everyone was like oh no, NCAA canceled everyone’s seasons and then we were just like okay, we’ll I guess we’ll just hop back on a plane and come home. The traveling was brutal for sure,” Van Sickle told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello on Thursday.

Fast-forward nearly five months preparing for a senior season on the indoor court, the outside hitter from California who spent the summer attacking online schooling, social distancing, and Zoom workouts, she received the devastating news for a second time as the BWC fall sports schedule was suspended.

déjà vu for number two.

“It definitely is very disappointing. I know that all the other seniors especially is really bummed because everything has just been piling on,” said Van Sickle. “I’m happy that yeah, it was a smart decision to move the season back just because the coronavirus cases are jumping now and everything. To have everyone be safe is definitely better than having a season, even though it is disappointing because we want to play so much.”

For the time being, Brooke and her indoor teammates remain optimistic and will do so by staying in shape and continuing to workout in hopes of being game ready if given the green light, inspired to improve on an NCAA Tournament run that took UH into the Sweet Sixteen a season ago.

“I do believe that we’ll be able to play again, so that’s we’ll take the time and everyone can stay safe, everyone can wear their masks and then we’ll figure it out from there.”

It’s well understood that the future is unknown and whether it’s a return to indoor or a sixth season on the beach, or possibly both? Van Sickle remains hopeful that she will be donning the green-H and tapa-trim in 2021 as Hawaii volleyball runs through her blood. Brooke follows in the footsteps of her father Gary who was a Rainbow in the late 80’s and mother Lisa who played at HPU and if for any reason Brooke’s Aloha State volleyball story ends at 34 matches between the court and sand, she is content with the life changing experience of forever being a Rainbow Wahine.

“Growing up my Dad would always tell me stories about playing volleyball here and everything, and obviously it would be nice to continue being able to finish out my last year and everything but obviously I’m so grateful. It’s definitely been an experience that I could never imagine. Being able to play in the Stan Sheriff Center and the culture of the team and my coaches, my team. Everyone around it was definitely a life changer for sure,” said Van Sickle.

Van Sickle will remain working out both individually and with teammates in the coming months continuing her business economics major with a scheduled graduation in the spring semester.

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