From USYVL to NCAA; Katie Ristow’s Volleyball Journey Started Here!
It’s not often one recognizes one of their earliest youth sports coaches some fifteen years later. Katie Ristow, the Marketing & Events Manager for Pepperdine University, experienced déjà vu when she crossed paths with USYVL Co-Founder Randy Sapoznik at the recent Pepperdine-hosted USYVL Kids Night. Ristow, a former Miami area volleyball champion and record-setting Outside Hitter for Division II Franklin Pierce University, got her start playing volleyball with USYVL. USYVL Co-Founders Randy Sapoznik and Dale Hoffman were Ristow’s coaches throughout her first season with USYVL, and Sapoznik quickly remembered Ristow, whose mother’s presence and support of the program stood out.
At the urging of her mother, Ristow signed up to play volleyball at USYVL’s Ventura site when she was nine years of age. During her time with USYVL, Ristow not only built a strong foundation of the skills and fundamentals needed to excel at the sport, she also built many memories and a lasting love of the game. “There are so many great memories from my time playing with USYVL. My first coach, Dale Hoffman, taught me the fundamental skills of volleyball,” Ristow recently said. “I loved that my teammates turned into friends that I was able to play with season after season with USYVL.”
Ristow, who initially turned to volleyball due to her advanced height at such a young age, recalls memories of the little extras offered by USYVL. “Being able to meet Dain Blanton after he won the gold medal during the Sydney Olympics was pretty cool!
“I fell in love with volleyball after I attended my first college volleyball game at Pepperdine University during my first season with USYVL,” she stated. “I told my mom that night that I wanted to play volleyball in college and the rest is history!”
After Ristow completed her time with USYVL she went on to play in high school and club. When she was 16, her family moved to Miami, Florida, where she became a member of the Killian Sr. High School Varsity Volleyball team. Ristow excelled as the team’s starting Outside Hitter and was a part of a team that won the Greater Miami Athletic Conference in 2004. In 2005, Ristow and Killian Sr. High won the District and Regional Championships, going undefeated until the semi-finals of the Florida High School State Championships.
Ristow went on to start for four years as the Outside Hitter for Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire, where she received her B.S. in Professional Sports Management and a minor in Marketing. While serving as a Graduate Assistant in the Marketing Department for Athletics at Florida International University (FIU), Ristow obtained a Master of Sports Management for Athletics. After a promotion to Assistant Marketing Director at FIU, Ristow moved back to Southern California and took on the Marketing & Events Management role for Pepperdine University.