Samantha Campion wins back-to-back CCAA Offensive Player of the Week awards

By Lann Nguyen, Sept. 26, 2023

Cal Poly Pomona outsider hitter Samantha Campion secured back-to-back Offensive Player of the Week awards by the California Collegiate Athletic Association as she triumphantly led the Broncos to six straight wins.

Already known as a strong defensive player on the volleyball court, Samantha Campion attributes her latest accolades to determination and hard work.

“It means a lot,” Campion said. “Over the summer, I did a lot of work, and it’s really nice to see it pay off. Everyone on my team puts me in good situations, and then I am aggressive and give myself the best opportunity to rip the ball and score.”

While she is now making waves as a star player on CPP’s volleyball roster, her journey as an athlete began in a different spot. Campion played basketball throughout her childhood up until eighth grade and still has a passion for the sport. She originally thought she would pursue the sport in college but instead chose volleyball.

Amid this change Campion had unforeseeable difficult times ahead that could have ended her athletic career altogether.

During her junior and senior year of high school she didn’t play any volleyball due to a stress fracture injury in her foot. At that point she had already committed to her first school.

“This is my dream and I’ve worked so hard for it for so long, and then it was kind of a reality check of, I don’t know if my body can physically handle it,” Campion said. “Looking back on that now, I’ve come so far, and my body has fully recovered from that injury, so that was a big turning point.”

Originally committing to the College of Charleston in South Carolina, she played there her sophomore year until her and her parents moved to Orange County to be closer to the rest of their family. Within months, she fell in love with her new home .

“Cal Poly Pomona allows me to be close to family, and it gives me the best academic opportunity close to home.” Campion said. “It’s a very competitive school with volleyball so that was the biggest turning point.”

Courtesy of CPP Athletics

Even in the face of this injury, Campion always persevered to progress as an athlete.

“Working out allows me to mentally decompress, and it helps me work toward my goals,” Campion said. “So that’s always been a big thing for me, and I enjoy time with my family.”

There is more to being a competitive athlete then the skills on the court, a balance between a healthy mind and body is crucial to success.

Despite wanting to give up on her dream, now more than ever she wants to be as good as she can be for as long as she can.

“I think mentally for me, I’m so much more grateful that I get to play now, and I get to do things that I didn’t think I would have the chance to do when I was injured.” Campion said.

While her passing game has always been strong, she’s made it a goal to be a bigger threat offensively this season.

There are many good blockers on the team, according to Campion, and they have good plays, so with her improving offensive tactics they can go the distance.

She still enjoys shooting hoops with her brothers in her spare time. She also enjoys playing tennis and being active.

Campion focuses on how to improve and hone her skills through playing other sports she is not particularly excelling in because she likes the challenge of pushing her athletic skills to their

The coaching staff has pushed Campion and the team to go further and focus on improving on and off the court. The intense preparation for being ready for volleyball season requires Campion to spend two to three hours a day, four to five days a week practicing.

“I think working hard is only going to motivate other people to work hard around you,” Campion said.

Finding a balance between rigorous practice and academics is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Campion likes to unwind by going on walks and listening to podcasts.

This season is sure to be competitive with CPP’s women’s volleyball team winning its preseason games.

“I think being able to stay confident mentally and trusting those around you, trusting the coaching and everything like that has been like a big thing when I’m dealing with those hard points or when we’re down,” Campion said.

There are several more hurdles to jump, and Samantha Campion will be the one to watch this season.

When Campion isn’t on the court, she spends her time reading romance novels and exercising.

After graduating with her communication degree in the fall of 2024, Campion sees herself continuing her career playing professional volleyball in Europe or reporting as a sports journalist.

When asked what advice she would give to younger players, Campion said: “Be the hardest worker out there there’s a lot of competition. Growing all aspects of your game and being able to help in multiple areas on the court is going to get you where you want to be a lot faster.”

Feature image courtesy of CPP Athletics

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