By Bill Sheehan
Savahna Costello, a Cal State Fullerton junior from Riverside, has always had a passion to succeed.
As a 7-year-old, she failed in a tryout for her older sister Kyana’s 12-and-under girls volleyball team and took it hard.
“Savahna was third-grader and smaller than the other girls,” said Bruce Bartholomew, who was the Lake Matthews Club’s coach. “She was wearing these big eyeglasses, and a tear formed in her eye and rolled down her cheek. Looking back, I felt just awful about it.”
When Costello got home, she burst into tears. Bartholomew soon received a phone call from her father. “I told him that she might get frustrated if she wasn’t playing,” said Bartholomew. “But he asked if she could at least practice with the team and shag balls. I had one spot left on the roster and gave it to her.”
“Savahna is such a fighter and competitor. She got on the court in the second game and played quite a bit that season, competing against fifth- and sixth-graders,” he said. “At tournaments, she would bang her serves over the net. People were standing around saying, ‘Watch this little girl serve.'”
She still has that strong inner drive. The 5-foot-6 libero had a career season for the Titan women’s volleyball team last fall, leading the conference in digs per set and earning All-Big West Honorable Mention.
Costello and Titan baseball pitcher Tanner Bibee were named the school’s 2019 Big West Conference Scholar Athletes of the Year. Each Big West school selects its two recipients. A March ceremony to honor the two was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
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