An Alabama star has been shining for Stony Brook Volleyball. In her first year as a libero, freshman Kardasia Hitchcock has been a defensive beast for the Seawolves.
Clay-Chalkville High School girl’s volleyball head coach Natasha Brown mentored Hitchcock for four years.
“[Hitchcock] is a freakishly amazing athlete,” Brown said in a phone interview. “I used to post this quote in the locker-room that said, ‘I want the player that I can ask to run through a wall for me and they will do it. She is that player.’ ”
Hitchcock set astonishing records at the middle position when she played for Clay-Chalkville High School, showcasing her talents on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. She recorded over 1,000 kills and digs for both categories in her four-year high school volleyball career.
Stony Brook Women’s Volleyball head coach Coley Pawlikowski had been scouting Hitchcock since she was a sophomore in high school.
“When we recruited her I said, ‘I don’t know what you’re going to do or what position you’re going to play, but we need you in our gym,’ ” Pawlikowski said in a phone interview. “She actually committed without visiting, she was looking for something different and the opportunity to be part of a Division I program.”
The Alabama native decided not to entertain the idea of going to any other school as Pawlikowski left a deep-rooted impression on Hitchcock during the recruitment process.
“My recruitment process was easy,” Hitchcock said. “I said I wanted to go to California or New York, and I got it. I fell in love with [Pawlikowski] immediately.”
Pawlikowski decided to bring Hitchcock into the starting libero position after seeing her pure athleticism shine in preseason play.
Hitchcock had to transition into a new lifestyle rather quickly as she began her freshman year of college in a new state. She sacrificed her offensive abilities in order to focus on becoming the most dominant libero that she could be.
“When I played defense I did everything wrong because I wasn’t really required to know the technique. So coming to a Division I school, being a defensive specialist, it’s hard to focus on getting everything right because the game is much faster,” Hitchcock said. “That was probably the hardest transition.”
The most memorable accolade for Hitchcock wasn’t breaking any records in high school; the unselfish libero remembered making it to the Sweet 16 in a super regional tournament her senior year the best. Hitchcock is optimistic that she will be able to bring the same success to Stony Brook.
“I actually think about that a lot,” Hitchcock said of bringing a winning atmosphere to Stony Brook. “I like bringing energy; I think I do that pretty well. So I think, with me, having fun all the time — it will get the team amped up to just want to do better. Hopefully I can, that’s something I’d love to do.”
Hitchcock has fallen into a routine of success because of her achievements in high school. Her persona is one that creates an energy for her teammates to feed off. The experience she endured in high school set her up for an easy transition into the college playing level.
“It taught me how to be a leader,” Hitchcock said. “It taught me how to just have fun, I’m really thankful for that, I matured on the volleyball court a lot faster playing at Clay-Chalkville High School.”
Hitchcock looks to shine in her new role at Stony Brook; she leads the team in digs thus far into the season.
“Now that I see what I can do,” Hitchcock said. “I think I want to be the best libero that the volleyball program has ever had.”