Katelyn Oppio is having an outstanding career at Gonzaga University.
She has always been talented, but she has also always been a great listener, a hard worker, and a phenomenal teammate. While in high school, the middle blocker locked up regional and state honors as both a junior and senior, including the title of Player of the Year. She graduated from Bishop Manogue in 2016 and has since continued to excel in her athletic and academic endeavors.
As a freshman at Gonzaga, Katelyn, or "KK" to friends and family, started all 28 matches and put up big stats for the year both offensively and defensively. For the season she had 98 blocks and 125 kills and had a team-high hitting percentage of .247. There were huge moments there, too, where she was critical to the Zags' success against big West Coast Conference opponents like St Marys (four kills, seven blocks), Pacific (nine blocks), and Pepperdine (four blocks and a .692 efficiency).
Her sophomore year, the coaches suggested she redshirt. After focusing on getting stronger, she came out with a bang again in 2018, where she played in all 28 matches and had great highlights, including nine blocks against UCLA, a .522 match against Iowa State, and double digit kills against Cal. By the end of the season, she'd racked up 27 aces, 70 blocks, and 111 kills.
The 2019 season is off to another great start. KK has played in all nine matches the Zags have competed in. She was named to Seattle University's Redhawk Invitational All-Tournament Team on Sept. 14. So far this year she's killing it on both sides of the ball with 54 kills, 13 aces, and 13 blocks.
The upcoming Nevada Tournament marks the time of year that Katelyn gets to come home to Reno to play. The Wolfpack/Zags game is Friday Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. (Ticket info here.) Gonzaga will also play Friday at 10 a.m. v Cal Baptist and Saturday at 11 a.m. v Southern Utah. This is the final tourney before WCC play begins Sept. 26 with their opener at home against BYU.
Please join us Friday if you can at 7 p.m. at the Virginia Street Gym at UNR. We'll be there supporting the Pack, but also rooting for this hometown rockstar!
Here's our Q&A with KK:
NNJ: What do you love about Gonzaga?
KK: I love Gonzaga because of the culture that is cultivated here. I love the people and the community aspect. I also love my team and coaches, too.
NNJ: You're one of the kindest yet most competitive people we've had the honor of working with. How do you stay motivated to be a great player and person? Where did you learn?
KK: To stay motivated, I always look forward to what I can be. I want to remain growing as a person not only for myself, but for my family, teammates, and coaches. I learned a lot from my coaches and parents, but also I had to learn a lot for myself. No one can make me do anything, so I have to be a self starter.
NNJ: What does it mean to come home to Reno to compete against the Pack?
KK: I am so excited to come home again to play at Nevada. Playing there my freshman year was an awesome experience and it was cool to have my whole family there. I hope to make the best of it and I am really looking forward to it.
NNJ: What are your goals for your last two years of school, athletically and otherwise?
KK: My goals for my last years of college are to just live in the moment and not take anything for granted—it goes by so fast. I want to always be making an impact on the court and bettering myself in benefit of the team. I am excited to compete and learn in these next two years of volleyball. As for school, I plan to graduate with my bachelor's in business administration with concentrations in finance and marketing with a psychology minor. In Spring of 2020 I will graduate, and then start my MBA in the summer for my final year. Go Zags!
NNJ: Any advice for younger players?
KK: I would say to have a positive mindset and control what you can control. Stay present and focus on what you’re doing in the moment, because once the day has ended, you can’t rewind and redo it. Work hard in everything that you do and take failure as learning opportunities and use that as fuel to drive you to be the best that you can be!
Stats and photo taken from Gonzaga Volleyball