Rancho Santa Fe volleyball star headed to UCLA, named CIF Player of the Year


If Torrey Pines senior and volleyball star Savvy Simo had her way when she was a kid, she would have pursued soccer. “I was always a big soccer player since I was little,” says Simo from her home in Rancho Santa Fe. However, it was a disappointing turn of events at the time that changed her entire future. “I quit soccer because of one coach who never played me. I realized I better try something new.”

That something new has turned into an incredible career in volleyball, where Simo has excelled the past four years as a star on Torrey Pine’s Girls Volleyball team and has collected numerous accolades along the way, topped off by the most recent news that she’s been named CIF Player of the Year. “I think about it all the time... what would have happened if I continued playing soccer,” Simo says. “It was really all because of that coach.”

It’s a topic of wonderment for Simo mainly because she’s now built the bedrock of her life on the sport that she initially wasn’t all that interested in. “When I transitioned to volleyball, I really struggled my freshman year,” she explains of her 2011 season. “I didn’t really like it and thought about even quitting.”

However, once Simo went through a growth spurt it wound up aiding her game and she says she hasn’t looked back since. While at Torrey Pines, she and her team have won four consecutive years of CIF titles and just this year, Simo was named MVP of two major tournaments. However, through all of her success, Simo points to her teammates for credit. “If it wasn’t for my teammates, I don’t know where I’d be,” she says. “They’re my biggest supporters and make me a better player, through the tough times and good times.”

Simo’s volleyball skills have even garnered interest far beyond the North County; 116 miles north of Torrey Pines to be exact at the athletic offices on UCLA’s Westwood campus. “They were the first school to reach out to me and that was the biggest thing because I’ve always wanted to go there,” she says of the university. “I’ve known a bunch of girls that have gone to UCLA for volleyball and I’ve liked it there since I was little.”

At first, the powers that be at UCLA offered Simo a slot on the school’s volleyball team; a major coup for any student athlete. Despite it being her dream school, however, Simo was skeptical because the Bruins stopped short of offering her a full scholarship. “It was a hard conversation to have with them,” she says of the idea of the possibility of walking away from UCLA. “But there were other universities offering me scholarships and I wanted to look at them as well.”

UCLA promised to reconsider their initial offer and further check out Simo’s skills. The timing coincided with her junior year, which happened to be the best season of her athletic career to date. “I knew I needed to focus, so I trained, practiced, and played my heart out. With the help of my teammates, family, and coaches I was able to get that determination to work harder than ever before. At the end of the year, I definitely did peak and it was good timing.” UCLA wound up coming around on its decision and offering Simo a full ride.

Now, she’s looking forward to wrapping up her final season with Torrey Pines and venturing north to see what the Bruins have to offer her. Throughout it all, she’ll always think about the route her life would have taken if she would have pursued soccer instead.”

Said Simo, “Thankfully, it ended up working out.”