Former Sailor steers UCLA |

Former Sailor steers UCLA

Carter returns to Colorado as team's captain

Katie Carter, captain of UCLA's volleyball team and former Sailors standout.
Courtesy Photo

— Katie Carter wasn’t surprised her teammates on the UCLA women’s volleyball team had never heard of Steamboat Springs. But that was before they met her.

“I love it when they announce where I’m from,” Carter said. “I’m always talking to my teammates about Steamboat Springs and telling them how great it is there.”

It also helps that the announcers at the UCLA volleyball games have been repeating the name Steamboat Springs nearly every match since Carter arrived three years ago.

“I didn’t even know that I could play for this school,” Carter said. “I was thrilled (in high school) when a big school came and said they wanted me to play for them. But I thought I was going to spend a lot of time on the bench, and I never dreamed that I would be such a big part of this team since I was coming from a small town.”

But when Carter arrived, she used the fact that she had come from a small town to fuel her drive in workouts, practices and matches. She wanted to prove she could play for one of the biggest and best programs in the country.

The rise from Steamboat Springs to Division 1 college volleyball began shortly after Carter was issued the gold and blue uniform of the Bruins.

As a freshman, Carter played in 42 games during 24 of UCLA’s 33 matches. She had her first double-figure kill match against Boise State as a freshman and posted a career high with 12 kills against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and had a career high six digs in that same match.

During her sophomore year, Carter had a record-setting match against Oregon State where she had 16 kills on an error-free 26 attacks. The .615 attack percentage ranks 14th in UCLA history. Last season, Carter played a key role in helping UCLA upset of then No. 2 Washington. Carter had 23 kills on 57 attacks and six blocked shots.

This season, Carter is one of two captains on the women’s volleyball squad and is looking forward to playing a new role for the team. She says the move has made her closer to the coaching staff, and that she realizes the younger players on the squad are looking to her for leadership.

Not bad for a girl who arrived in California just hoping to step onto the floor.

“It seems so long ago,” Carter said about playing on the Steamboat Springs High School volleyball team that finished second to Lewis Palmer in the 2002 state high school championship.

“I try not to dwell on it, but I will never forget playing with those girls, and I will never forget what we accomplished on the court,” Carter said. “Because of that team, I know what it’s like to have really good chemistry.”

Carter feels as though she has grown as a person and as a player since arriving at UCLA. She said the level of play at the college level is far greater than any high school match she played in. But as a team captain, she said she has talked about that Steamboat team and the chemistry the players shared on the court.

Each year, UCLA Coach Andy Banachowski tries to play a volleyball match close to each of his seniors’ hometowns. Since there are no major college tournaments planned for Steamboat Springs, Carter will have to settle for Denver. When UCLA takes the cou-rt for the Pioneer Classic Sept. 8, it will be the closest match Carter has played to Steamboat Springs in the past three years.

“My family and friends will be in the stands,” Carter said. “I think half the stands at the University of Denver are going to be there for me, and I’m so excited that I get an opportunity to play in Denver.”

UCLA will face Texas State at 5 p.m. Friday, Georgia at 11 a.m. Saturday, and the University of Denver at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 9 during the tournament.

Following her college career Carter hopes to play professionally in Europe.

– To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail

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