Caitie Mueller has been playing volleyball since she was 11. Her passion for the sport has earned her ceaseless accolades, and she earned her fifth-career CCAA Setter of the Week award earlier this month for leading the Broncos to four straight home wins.
Over a decade into her athletics career, Caitie Mueller has added a fifth CCAA Setter of the Week award to her seemingly endless list of accolades after she led the Broncos to four straight home wins earlier this month.
Despite being just four weeks into the season, Mueller garnered five kills, 49 assists, seven points, two aces, 26 digs and two total blocks.
The San Clemente native grew up also playing softball, soccer and basketball.
“Before volleyball, I was playing softball in the city sports softball league, and once I got older, they switched to club and travel softball and I wasn’t really enjoying it as much anymore, so I wanted to try volleyball,” said Mueller.
After venturing into a new sport, it did not take her long to realize she had a passion for volleyball.
“When I was 11 or 12, I was enjoying playing so much more because it was faster paced than softball was, and I kept growing with that,” said Mueller. “I loved the travel tournaments, being able to play with all my friends and being indoors. I didn’t really like being outdoors with softball.”
Mueller attended JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano and played volleyball all four years there. Additionally, she was a three-year team captain and earned two-time team MVP and two-time scholar-athlete recognitions.
Mueller rotated through several positions on the court during high school before settling on the position she would ultimately compete in for the rest of her career.
“I started to enjoy being a setter more, and I was pretty good at it — better at it than hitting,” said Mueller. “I loved being always in the play and being able to have the second ball. It was a gradual thing.”
Furthermore, Mueller explained she loves the mental aspect of the position. Being responsible for choosing who is going to be the hot hitter, who is going to get the point, what plays to run and having to think about what decisions to make a little bit more than the other players.
After high school, Mueller attended Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and competed there for three seasons.
She redshirted her freshman year, which meant she only participated in team practices and started playing her sophomore year. She and her coach, however, no longer shared the same interests by the time she reached her junior year, and she felt she was ready for a change.
“What my coach wanted to do and where I fit into that — we didn’t really align anymore,” said Mueller. “I didn’t feel like I was being given my best opportunity to be an impact player. So, when I had the opportunity I entered the transfer portal and decided I wanted to go play somewhere that I could be a little more of an impact player and be on a highly competitive team.”
After entering the transfer portal and waiting to hear from another school, Mueller received an email from Cal Poly Pomona head coach Traci Dahl in December 2021 that said she would love to have her on the team and get to know her more.
Given it was her winter break, she was able to come home and take a tour of the school. It was then when she knew where she would be landing.
“Once I went on that tour, I knew it felt like the right fit for me,” said Mueller. “My mom actually went to Cal Poly Pomona, so it was a cool full-circle moment knowing that she went here and that I would be following in her footsteps. It all fell into place.”
Mueller arrived at CPP in January 2022.
“It’s been great,” said Mueller. “I love the team, I love my coaches. It’s a very championship-minded team. We’re always striving to win and want to better each and every practice. Team culture is really good; everyone is on the same page, and we want to make sure we are doing our best in practices and at games. We have a lot of communication with our coaches and a lot of trust with our coaches. I really love volleyball and the program here.”
The 2022 CCAA Newcomer of the Year shared how she felt when she learned she was named Setter of the Week for the fifth time and was particularly thankful for how the team performed at the Bronco Fall Classic.
“I felt really proud,” said Mueller. “I know my team has been putting in a lot of work, and the last four games that we had this last weekend were really fun games to play with my team. I owe a lot to them for the award. My passers were giving me good balls to be able to dish out to my hitters. I felt really good.”
Although Mueller plans to become a teacher rather than pursuing volleyball professionally, she feels blessed to be able to play the sport and gives all her glory to God.
“My faith is a big thing about my life, and I want to make sure people know none of this is done through me,” said Mueller. “My strength is coming from my God, and I want to make sure the honor and glory is to him through all of it.”
When asked what her goals for this season are, Mueller simply responded, “To keep winning.”