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Oct. 20, 2004

Inspiration can come from many places for an athlete. Some athletes find it through the desire to be the best, and others find it through their family and friends. Gamecock volleyball player, Katelyn Panzau found it through her older sister, Sarah.

Panzau, a setter, first started playing volleyball in the third grade after watching her sisters, Nicole and Sarah.

“My older sisters always played when we were younger. They didn’t have my age group when I was younger, so I joined a club team. My sisters and I used to set up a net and play whenever we could,” said Panzau.

Panzau learned a lot from Nicole and Sarah when it came to playing volleyball. Her sisters taught her strong work ethics and the basic fundamentals of volleyball.

In August of 2003, Panzau’s sister, Sarah was in a near fatal car-accident, with her injuries resulting in her arm having to be amputated. Panzau was entering her first year at Carolina, getting ready to start her first volleyball season at the time the accident happened.

For many athletes an incident like this would have caused a setback in performance. Panzau used this experience to play even harder, becoming only the fifth freshman in Gamecock history to record 1,000 assists.

“It makes you think about everyday more. My sister loved to play volleyball, and this experience makes me think about how she will never be able to play again like that. It makes you realize you can not take things for granted,” said Panzau, “There are some days where I am just so tired and don’t want to play, but I just think how my sister would love to be in my position right now. It makes me work even harder.”

Halfway through her sophomore season Panzau continues to push herself, giving her an important role on the team.

“I think there is always room for me to grow as a player. I think I need to work hard each day to get better. I am not at my full potential right now. I know I can be better so I work even harder to achieve my goals,” said Panzau.

Panzau has learned from this experience that life can bring upon the unexpected and change everything in a moment. Her determination and strength has pushed her to play volleyball at a new level. Panzau has inspired the team, just as her sister, Sarah has inspired her.