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Kim finds comfort at IVC

Irvine Scene

Lasers' 5-foot-8 outside hitter juggles a busy schedule but is now happy playing volleyball.

October 15, 2011|By Joe Haakenson, Special to the Daily Pilot

Breaking up was hard to do for Annie Kim, but getting back together has been that much sweeter.

Kim and volleyball are together again, a harmonious reunion that is commencing at Irvine Valley College, where the Lasers are ranked No. 18 in the state and Kim is a big part of it. Her play in IVC's victory over No. 7-ranked Fullerton earlier in the week was pivotal at a pivotal point in the season.

A 5-foot-8 outside hitter, Kim had 15 kills, three blocks and two aces while hitting .320 in the match.

"Annie's one of the ones that plays with a lot of fire, a lot of emotion," IVC coach Tom Pestolesi said. "She's one we can feed off of. And she's really athletic, really explosive. She can do some pretty spectacular things."

Kim was a three-sport star at Gabrielino High in San Gabriel, playing volleyball, basketball and track, and earned a scholarship in volleyball to Cal State Los Angeles. But her collegiate career almost ended before it even got started.

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Kim dislocated her left knee in a preseason practice during her freshman year in 2008 and had to redshirt. She played the next year at Cal State L.A., but then came to a crossroads in her life, and ultimately decided to leave Cal State L.A. and give up her scholarship so she could find herself as a person.

As it turned out, she discovered who she was, what she wanted and also found that volleyball should be a part of it.

"I gave it up because I was struggling," Kim, 21, said. "After the injury I struggled to get my confidence back as a player. I just wasn't my old self. I rehabbed for a year and it just never came back.

"All I did was play volleyball, I went to school and played volleyball. I needed to do something else, I just wasn't happy. It was the first time in my life I wasn't happy playing volleyball, and that said a lot."

Kim transferred to UC Irvine and discovered she had a passion for writing. She's majoring in literary journalism with a minor in education and hopes to become a high school English teacher.

"The reason I went to UCI was to find who I was outside of volleyball, because all I did in high school and growing up was play sports," Kim said. "I was always the kid with the ball and I wanted to go to UCI to find out what else was there besides sports."

Now, she's on track to graduate from UCI next June, and no, that isn't a typo.

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