Paige Hines Hits Service Ace|
Feb. 11, 2015
The Trojan sand volleyball team may be USC Athletics' newest sport, but it has already made its presence felt in the local community.
In fact, the women of the sand lead all 21 Trojan teams in total volunteer hours after the fall semester of service.
Sophomore Paige Hines has become the team's captain in this endeavor. Hines alone has dedicated more than 20 hours to the community this school year, helping her team average more than 10 hours per student-athlete.
"Reaching out and being positive role models in our community is something our team really enjoys, and it's an important part of our team's ideals," Hines said.
Each month, USC Athletics recognizes one of its student-athletes who has gone above and beyond in the community. This January, Hines' embodiment of the Trojan spirit earned her the honor.
The Encinitas native acts as the liaison between her team and the USC Athletics Community Outreach Program, making it a priority to schedule and plan events that she knows her team will not only benefit from, but also enjoy.
That effort has left a tangible impact on the Los Angeles community, evidenced by the eight events the sand volleyball squad has participated in so far this academic year.
From a local gardening project, to a stop at Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), to the recent clinic for local Girl Scouts, Hines and company have made a large impact in their short time as a collegiate program.
At CHLA, Hines read books, played games and posed for photos with children undergoing hours of dialysis. There was even time to show the kids how to form the "V for Victory" salute.
"Being a student-athlete at USC is about so much more than just academics and athletics," Hines said. "We have a unique opportunity to reach out to the surrounding community and be able to make a difference in people's lives."
Since sand volleyball was re-classified as an NCAA-sponsored emerging sport in 2012, the USC squad has found plenty of success, finishing third nationally in 2013 and 2014.
Hines believes her team's involvement in the community may contribute to that success in the sand.
"Our experience in outreach events is a big part of our team bonding," Hines said. "It also humbles us and motivates us to work harder, and it reminds us to take advantage of every opportunity that arises.
The sand volleyball team's regular season picks up on March 12 vs. TCU at Merle Norman Stadium.