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Hopewell 8th Grade Volleyball Player Sydney Malakanich Working to Get Better

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Hopewell volleyball player Sydney Malakanich had to make a tough decision at a young age.

Sydney is currently an 8th grade captain on Coach Borkovic’s Hopewell Girls Middle School Volleyball team and a HYFL Midget Cheerleader. She is a dedicated athlete and soon realized that both sports were becoming a lot to handle.

With this in mind and after a lot of consideration, Malakanich made a tough decision and felt it was best to take a step back from cheerleading following the conclusion of this past football season.

“As many people know, I’ve done cheer my whole life,” Malakanich tells HSN. “But as soon as I stepped on the volleyball court for the first time, I fell in love with it. I realized that cheer just wasn’t for me anymore, and that I plan on sticking with volleyball.”

In the end, Malakanich felt as though it was best for her to focus and give her complete attention to volleyball and working to get better at it. Speaking of getting better, Sydney told us about a part of her game that’s improved a lot from 7th grade.

Sydney Malakanich

“I’m definitely trying to work on my serving the most at practice,” said Malakanich. “Last year, I struggled and even had a hard time getting the ball over the net. But now, I’m able to serve repeatedly in a game, which has been a serious improvement for me. But I know that I still have a lot of room for improvement.”

As Sydney and her Viking teammates are coming to the end of the 2024 season, she tells HSN that she’s extremely excited the way her team has performed and gotten better this season.

She believes that the team is very close and does a very good job of communicating and getting together through good times and bad.

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“As soon as we talk into a game or practice, everything kind of just goes away and our focus is on volleyball,” said Malakanich. “We leave any drama that’s happening off court, because at the end of the day, we’ve learned to think of each other as family.”

The key word there is ‘family’, which has always been a motto and an important quality of the Hopewell Volleyball program.

“We’ve learned to try and stay positive and stay together, even if we’re not playing our best. We can’t get down and have to continue to cheer each other on, no matter what, whether it’s after an error or after an amazing play,” explained Sydney.

Between athletics and her schoolwork, Sydney tells us that she doesn’t have a lot of personal time but she’s ok with that.

“I rarely have any free time, but I wouldn’t trade any of it and wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Malakanich’s main offseason goal is trying to continue to get better and be prepared as she can to join Coach Borkovic and the Hopewell High School volleyball team next season.

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