LMC volleyball’s lucky number seven

Pinkowski sits on assisting throne


Cathie Lawrence

Kiana Pinkowski hold 91 percent of the Mustangs assists.

Standout Volleyball player Kiana Pinkowski is used to assiting in more ways than one.
Pinkowski is an assist machine on the court as she is a setter, and accounts for 91 percent of the teams assist. On top of that, she leads the entire Bay Valley Conference with 8.69 assist per set, which places her at 23rd in the whole state.
Off the court, Pinkowski has wanted to become a nurse ever since she was little. She loves to help people and wants to make a difference in their lives.
“Seeing my dad as a firefighter and the satisfaction he gets out of helping others has influenced me to do something in the medical field,” said Pinkowski.
Pinkowski has been playing volleyball since she was nine years of age and has not stopped.
“Tangibly she brings a ton of experience… she brings a lot of competitiveness, she has a great attitude toward the game,” said head coach Lou Panzella.
She started her High School career in Orange County and then moved after her freshman year to be closer with her family. She has played club volleyball and was a three-year varsity starter at Liberty High School. Her favorite moment at Liberty was just coming out and seeing the home crowd.
She is not really sure why she is passionate about volleyball so much but she thinks it is because she has been playing from a young age and the teamwork aspect of the sport.
“I just love it,” said Pinkowski.
When she is not playing hard her hobbies include hanging out with friends and enjoying family time.
Pinkowski would like to play college at a four-year university, and is most interested in Long Beach State, but would take a scholarship from any school that was interested in her abilities.
The setter would like to go pro or play for an Olympic team while realizing the challenges that come with it.
“[It takes] hard work, dedication, and just the passion for the game,” said Pinkowski.
If she doesn’t make it pro she would still love to be around the sport by playing or coaching.
Her dad is one of her biggest role models because he’s a firefighter and she admires his love and passion for his job and his willingness to help others and make a difference.
Pinkowski lives in Discovery Bay with her dad and sister. She describes herself as easy going and open minded off the court. When she is playing however she calls herself a quarterback on the court.
“If anyone needs to know their rotation they ask me,” said Pinkowski.
Her hard work and leadership does not go unnoticed by coaches and teammates.
“A great leader is someone who works hard all the time, is the first person in the gym, is the last person out of the gym, who no matter what you’re doing is always giving it everything they have, 100 percent. Whether it’s shagging a ball or doing some drills that might be a little bit less fun or more boring than others, in that regard she is a great leader. She is always trying to improve herself, trying to help the team to improve and trying to help individual players on the team get better,” said Panzella.
She is always going all out and looking to progress as a player.
“She’s a very hard working and determined player and she’s been working hard all throughout the season, id say she’s very focused and into wanting to get better,” said Mayfield.
Outside hitters Taylor Scriven and Michelle Mayfield are glad to have her on the team because she directly affects their play. Scriven (342) and Mayfield (286) hold the top two spots in kills largely in part because of Pinkowski’s crisp passes.
“Without her I wouldn’t be able to get as many kills as I usually get in a game,” said Mayfield. Scriven added, “Without her I don’t know where I’d be.”
The setter has a mutual respect for her outside hitters and knows as well that she needs them as much as they need her.
“I think they’re really good outlets, they’re very consistent, they just know what they need to do to get the job done,” said Pinkowski.
This is her first year on the team and she has already made memories as well as
built chemistry.
“Getting along with the girls, it really does help playing together and getting wins,” said Pinkowski.
Aside from the rest of the team, Pinkowski and Scriven are best friends and they have been ever since their sophomore year at Liberty.
“We’re a package deal. She’s my best friend, my other half. We share a bond that can’t be broken. She’s my sister. Maybe not by blood, but definitely by destiny.”
Scriven feels the same about her teammate.
“[She’s] fun to be around, always positive, always has good things to say,” said Scriven, adding, “I can count on her for anything on and off the court, we make memories every single day, it’s always fun, every single day I’m with her.”
The package deal gel extremely well together on the court and Panzella was ecstatic to have both on the team.
“It was a really good day when both her and Taylor [Scriven] said they were coming together and were going to be playing. I knew immediately we were going to be much better then last year,“ said Panzella.
The star volleyball player loves the game she plays and she describes it as her “happy place.”