Junior outside hitter Mickayla Sherman earned the CCAA Newcomer of the Year Award (J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA)

The Cal State Los Angeles women’s volleyball team had a contending season with a 22-6 overall record and a trip to the NCAA tournament. Among their many factors of success is junior outside hitter Mickayla Sherman.

Sherman was named the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Newcomer of the Year and was named on the All-CCAA Second Team.

In her Cal State L.A. debut, she scored 10 points, then made 12 digs in her second game. By September 1, Sherman made a season high of 25.5 points and 22 kills against the Alaska Fairbacks to help secure a 3-1 victory. Later in the season, she scored at least 10.0 points for six consecutive games.

The contributions Sherman gave the Golden Eagles would raise them to be as high as ninth in the national American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll. By the end of the season, the Golden Eagles would land at 22nd. Cal State L.A. is also ranked third in the West regional division, out-performing Cal Poly Pomona and Azusa Pacific.

Sherman enjoys the chemistry and talent the Golden Eagles possess.

“I feel like my role is just bringing energy, whether if we’re losing or winning,” Sherman said. “Our defense and our service team is [doing] really well, so that sets me and everyone else in the front row up to hit well.”

Through their success, the volleyball coaching staff did not lose focus on the players’ obligations to their classes, according to Sherman.

“Our coach really lets us go to office hours say if we need to miss some practice to do that,” she said. “Putting all of my effort into on the court and off the court has just helped me.”

An academic highlight for Sherman was taking a Pan-African studies class that focused on Black Masculinity, she found the class to be relatable and noted how the lessons she learned could be used beyond her college years.

“In our society, we are taught that Black people don’t typically exist until colonization,” Sherman said. “[The professor] was talking about the whole resume that Black people would have done so many things but because of the society that we live in, it’s very looked over.”

This was Sherman’s first season as a Golden Eagle after transferring from UC Riverside. She saw Cal State L.A.’s semester system as a benefit.

“Since it’s a little slower pace, I can actually learn and not just memorize,” Sherman said. “I feel like I am succeeding very well.”

Sherman is a political science major with a focus on public administration to ultimately go to law school and become a public defender.

“I can get one of the best grades with political science and actually remember stuff about that instead of a whole memorization thing,” she said. “I would want to do something for my community to be the best that I can for them when other people may just think of it just as their job.”