April 29, 2022 | SPORTS | By Samwel Makyao | Photo Courtesy of Izzy Lipacis
Izzy Lipacis ’24 is from California and plays for the Colorado College Volleyball team. She was the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year and a first-team all-conference selection in her freshman season. We met with Izzy in Tutt Library and talked about her volleyball career at CC. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Samwel Makyao: What made you choose to play volleyball at CC?
Izzy Lipacis: Academics were my main priority when looking at schools. CC is a top academic institution, but when I learned about CC volleyball’s competitive program, it was really just the cherry on top. My high school and club experiences were great, but I wasn’t fully satisfied with my volleyball career. I guess the idea of competing at such a high level and playing with young women who would push me and challenge me every day sounded like too good of an opportunity to pass up.
Makyao: How does it feel to represent the Tigers?
Lipacis: I feel honored to represent the Tigers. CC volleyball has an amazing legacy, and I really got a strong taste of that. When I first started as a freshman on the team, it was clear that our program has so many admirable players that have shaped the team and represent the Tigers so well, and I am proud to be a part of something so great.
Makyao: What drives you to be the best?
Lipacis: I think knowing that I can always do better is something that pushes me. I want to do better not only for myself but for my team. If every single person is invested in succeeding by working hard, you can have a successful team. Establishing that kind of atmosphere, dedication, and work ethic in our gym is a big driving force for me. Lastly, my teammates are also my biggest supporters. They’re always encouraging me to work hard and be the best player that I can be.
Makyao: What quote or mantra do you live by?
Lipacis: I can’t quite think of something that I live by, but I like to toss the word “flow” around a lot. Our team is at its best when we’re in the flow and it kind of means that everyone’s working well together, almost in an effortless way. When we’re in the flow, it feels like we’re in full control of the game. We feel unstoppable, confident, calm, and collected, and we can handle anything that comes our way.
Makyao: In volleyball, what do you wish someone would hurry up and invent and why?
Lipacis: Ideally, I would say perfect referees. One of the most frustrating things in volleyball for me is worrying about a close game depending on a referee call, and I’ve been in too many situations where the game does come down to a call. However, this definitely is a super unrealistic request, and sometimes referees make bad calls that favor your side. I think any sport would benefit from perfect referees.
Makyao: If you could look at a crystal ball and discover the future of the CC Volleyball Team, what would you hope to see and why?
Lipacis: I would like to see our program continuing to improve and be the best that it can be, with just a group of dedicated women who are passionate about the sport and want to succeed. Every year we lose amazing players, but it’s exciting to see the potential that new freshmen bring to the team, and the amount of growth that we’ve seen just in the past couple of months in our spring season is just exciting. So always being in a constant state of improvement is something that I would love to see our volleyball team continues to foster.
Makyao: Who is your idol and who gives you the most inspiration?
Lipacis: I don’t have a volleyball idol, but my dad played volleyball when he was younger. He dedicated so much time, effort, and energy to volleyball and has so much love for the game. Additionally, his work ethic and passion is inspiring, and it just reminds me of how lucky I am to be doing something that I love, with the most fantastic group of young women.
Makyao: What is your proudest achievement and why?
Lipacis: I think winning the SCAC Championship in my freshman year was special. We were tackling a lot of COVID-19 adversities, but we worked really hard together despite them all. In the end, it paid off with the championship, and I’m forever grateful to have been a part of such a big accomplishment during such a difficult year for all of us.
Makyao: What is the most absurd rule in volleyball, and what is your signature move or technique?
Lipacis: I think there are a lot of questionable rules that the liberos have to follow. They aren’t allowed to back or attack if their point of contact reaches or goes above the net. Also, they are not allowed to set the ball with their hands in front of the 10-foot line, and I just don’t think those are necessary restrictions. I wouldn’t say I have a signature move, but I love a good line shot off of the tight set from Jenny Jenks ’24.
Makyao: Describe what you hope to accomplish in the next few years in a hashtag?
Lipacis: My hashtag would be hashtag #SCACchamps. Obviously, the ultimate goal for any team is to win a national championship, but there’s a long process for achieving that goal. In my mind winning the SCAC championship is an important part of that process.
Makyao: What is your favorite pregame pump-up song and postgame go-to snack?
Lipacis: I don’t have a favorite pump-up song by our warm-up next for home games is pretty hype; we have a variety of songs in there ranging from Soldier Boy to Lip Gloss. In terms of a go-to snack after the game, you can never go wrong with nice chocolate milk.