In her last year as a Bronco, senior setter Cassedi Simon hit a notable statistic which will have a permanent place in the Boise State volleyball record books: she reached 1,000 assists with the team.
“To get 1,000 assists is exciting, even to be close to it would be exciting,” Simon said. “I have worked really hard for what I have now and what I have developed as a setter, teammate [and]leader. My parents kept informing [me]that I was close to it all the time.”
Simon is leaving a valuable imprint on her teammates and coaches as she finishes her final year at Boise State. At the beginning of her collegiate career, she had a friendly face on the team, her identical twin, Maddie.
Throughout their childhood, the twins played several sports together. But come junior year of college, the Simon sisters did not play volleyball together for the first time in their lives. Her sister chose to focus on school, while Simon wanted to remain on the team.
This new change in Simon’s life and sporting career created an obstacle for her that she did not see coming.
“The first year without playing with my sister was really tough and I didn’t really know how to really be a player without my own mindset,” Simon said. “I always had someone there to support me and even though my teammates do a great job at that, but I always had that person on the court with and go home with. We were always communicating about practice and stuff and now that she isn’t here playing with me I have developed as a player. But she is the manager this year, so I get to have her see my senior year.”
Even though Simon had her sister on the court with her for her first two years on the team, she bonded with senior outside hitter Janell Walley, who has been right by Simon’s side throughout all four years of their college careers.
Having a friendship both on and off the court has been a strong advantage for both of them. Simon, a setter, and Walley, an outside hitter, rely on each other greatly; for these two positions especially, teammate chemistry is crucial
“In volleyball, [Simon] is a really hard worker and I think she is always putting in her best effort by trying her best,” Walley said. “She also is good at having fun on the court, bringing a smile and energy. Off the court, too, we have a good time together and we’re always laughing and making jokes.”
Simon and Walley’s relationship began as freshmen roommates in the dorms and has continued as they have been housemates their sophomore and junior years. Building on that relationship, they plan on staying in touch after school.
Simon stated she has strived to improve upon her time management of school work, sports and social life. Simon has taken advantage of all of the tutoring opportunities that the school has offered. Staying on top of her schoolwork has helped her to stay focused and ready to work hard come practice time.
“I think my freshman and sophomore year I had a tutor for almost every class I was taking just in case,” Simon said. “I just had to put in the extra effort just like I had to do for volleyball.”
Simon’s attitude on-and-off the court exemplifies who she is as a person: Someone who loves life and tries to see the best in every situation. Head coach Shawn Garus has experienced first-hand how Simon’s personality has grown over the course of her Boise State career.
“She is quick to laugh, like really quick to laugh. We play a lot of matches and you could say it is a high stress environment, but Cas is always ready to smile and laugh and have a good time with her teammates,” Garus said. “I think that’s probably what she enjoys most about being part of a team, that circle of friends that you have.”
This week will conclude Boise State volleyball’s regular season. The Broncos are currently sitting in fourth place in the conference, so their participation in the NCAA Tournament is not likely. Seniors Simon, Walley and Celine Christensen will be honored at their last home game on Saturday, Nov. 23 to celebrate their accomplishments.
“[Being a senior] is a bittersweet moment. I have played volleyball for a long time and it’s exciting,” Simon said. “I look at it as a chapter ending, but another chapter opening. I am excited to move forward in my degree and see where I go in the business world. It is going to be really hard to leave this group of girls. They have made my senior year one of the best years here. It is going to be emotional, but an exciting moment for me.”