NCAA Beach Volleyball

Rediscovering The Fire – California Golden Bears Athletics

Rediscovering The Fire - California Golden Bears Athletics

This feature originally appeared in the 2024 Spring edition of the Cal Sports Quarterly. The Cal Athletics flagship magazine features long-form sports journalism at its finest and provides in-depth coverage of the scholar-athlete experience in Berkeley. Printed copies are mailed four times a year to Bear Backers who give annually at the Bear Club level (currently $600 or more). For more information on how you can receive a printed version of the Cal Sports Quarterly at home, send an email to or call (510) 642-2427.
When it comes to finding the best version of oneself, environment can mean everything.
And environment isn’t limited to just its location or geographical parts. Cultural, social and situational aspects can all be just as important in allowing someone to thrive to the best of their ability.
After graduating from Point Loma High School in San Diego in 2019, California beach volleyball senior Sierra Caffo had plenty of reasons to believe that she was headed to her perfect situation. She compiled a 30-6 record that summer, capping off a stellar youth career that had seen her excel at numerous tournaments and earn top-four finishes in the 18U divisions of both the Gold Bracket AAU Championships and USA Championship.
The next step for Caffo was to join a powerhouse program at LSU that was coming off a third-place finish at the NCAA Championship, its highest ever. But, over the next few years, things didn’t go the way Caffo hoped.
I didn’t have too hard a time of succeeding in high school. There weren’t many things that could put a barrier on my athletics or academics,” Caffo said. Then, when I hit college, it kind of went stagnant, and maybe even downhill for a bit. That’s when I went through some struggles.”
While her first-year experience at LSU started out well, Caffo and everyone around her would soon have their lives upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, her freshman season was canceled just four weeks in before she was able to see any NCAA action.
“COVID was really hard for a lot of people,” Caffo said. It diminished your college experience as a whole. There was a lot you couldn’t do and a lot more adjustments you had to make.”
Caffo continued to try and make a name for herself during her sophomore year within an extremely competitive Tiger roster. But she was once again held out of the lineup for the entirety of the season, instead having to cheer on…

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