Senior middle blocker Cianna Andrews poses with a ball in hand inside the Sacramento State volleyball team’s practice gym on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2021. Andrews recently returned to the team after recovering from an injury and was named Big Sky defensive player of the week in October. (Tony Rodriguez)
Sac State volleyball player finds ‘structure’ and ‘fulfillment’ in sport
After being sent home to recover from injury, senior middle blocker for the Sacramento State volleyball team, Cianna Andrews, craved the discipline and satisfaction of being part of her team.
Andrews realized she is much more than a volleyball player through dealing with her recovery of tearing her labrum in her hip, the cartilage that lines the joint.
Andrews credits being on the team for providing her discipline and an outlet for her emotions.
After returning from her injury, Andrews has helped the Hornets make a run in the Big Sky Conference.
“Sometimes I need structure in my life, volleyball gives me structure,” Andrews said. “It gives me fulfillment and the ability to set goals. It gives me something else to focus on. Sometimes I feel like I can get pretty chaotic and volleyball grounds me.”
After Andrews tore her labrum she was forced to take a hiatus from volleyball and head back home to Bellflower, California for recovery. Being away she began to feel like her structure was taken away from her.
Andrews describes her injury as a “freak accident.” Before the injury she had no prior issues with her hip.
While running some sprints at practice one day she began to feel a tearing and burning sensation. She said she continued through the workout in a lot of pain.
“I really had to focus on being so much more than an athlete,” Andrews said. “It was a big eye-opener for me. Volleyball is a big deal but it’s not who I am as a person.”
While living in Bellflower, Andrews played club volleyball in high school and was noticed by Sac State recruits including head coach Ruben Volta, who she met at a tournament.
“When I actually came for an official visit, I was like ‘Yes, I have to go to this school,’” Andrews said. “It was perfect for me.”
Cianna on the court turns the other side into her enemy. That’s the kind of player she is. She gets really hyped up and is all in it for the team. She’s definitely a no-nonsense type of gal.
— Macey Hayden
Competitive sports were not something Andrews started playing until high school. Bobbi Moore, Andrews’s grandmother, recalls taking her granddaughter to meet the high school basketball coach while deciding which sport she would play.
“I took her to meet the basketball coach, and Cianna had no interest in playing,” Moore said. “She walked out the back while we spoke. Cianna was outside and told me that she did not want to play basketball, so she played volleyball.”
Andrews eventually signed up for volleyball with her friends who all wanted a fun activity to participate in together. She said it soon became something more than an activity: she discovered she was passionate about it.
“It started with me and all my friends,” Andrews said. “We all went to volleyball tryouts and I was the only one out of all my friends that actually made the team. I started getting better and better and the rest is history.”
Senior middle blocker Cianna Andrews and senior outside hitter Macey Hayden ready to block their opponent’s incoming ball on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. Andrews and Hayden have been teammates and roommates since arriving together at Sacramento State.
Andrews is a fierce competitor on the court and plays with emotion on her face. According to her teammate senior outside hitter Macey Hayden, if she were allowed to talk to her opponents through the net, she would.
In October Andrews was named Big Sky Conference’s defensive player of the week. The Hornet volleyball team went on a six-game win streak that month, sweeping the first, second and third-place teams. This was all with Andrews taking on a big role at the front of the net as one of the team’s lead middle blockers.
“Cianna on the court turns the other side into her enemy,” Hayden said. “That’s the kind of player she is. She gets really hyped up and is all in it for the team. She’s definitely a no-nonsense type of gal.”
Andrews was able to make her return back into competition in fall 2021. Since then, she has been able to get back to her position and regain the structure in her life that she missed.
Being around sports is something that she wants to always keep in her life, according to Andrews.
Andrews does not only want to be an athlete, she wants to make sports her career in a different way. She is a communications major and a journalism minor. One day she hopes to work for ESPN.
“I love football and basketball,” Andrews said. “I love talking about it, just being in the atmosphere of sports I can feel my heart pounding.”
Tony Rodriguez is a fourth-year journalism major in his second semester as editor-in-chief of The State Hornet. Rodriguez has spent four semesters with the publication and has served in editorial positions with The State Hornet and on his community college publication, The Express. He hopes to continue his education after graduating from Sacramento State and pursue a Master of Arts in Journalism. Rodriguez hopes to work in media production or as a reporter focused on arts and culture.