This summer, Maddison McKibbon has practically spent more time in the air than on terra firma. As an opposite hitter for the USC men’s volleyball team, jumping off the ground is a big part of the job description for the Hawai’i native. So is extensive travel. McKibbon, a 6-foot-5, 185 lb. senior from Punahou in Honolulu, Hawai’i, is currently catching his breath back home on the island.
“This summer, I decided not to tryout for the U.S. Junior Beach Volleyball team as I’ve done for the past two summers,” clarified McKibbon. “I’ve been working a little for a social media marketing company, coaching 18s boy’s club volleyball for Manhattan Beach Surf, shadowed a real estate agent in Palos Verdes for a little over a month, took a trip to Wyoming with some friends and [teammate] Tanner Jansen [named to the 2012 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation All-Academic men's volleyball team] right when school got out, working out on my own, playing a little beach volleyball for fun, and now back in Hawai’i spending two weeks with the family.”
Overall, the Trojans had much success this spring going 24-6. Finishing their season in a thrilling but disappointing series of games, USC conceded a sweep to the Anteaters of UC Irvine at the 2012 NCAA Championship. Head coach Bill Ferguson dealt with losses consisting of four starters from the 2011 season (including the National Player of the Year, two other All-Americans and the school hitting percentage record holder) and, despite being picked fifth in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation pre-season poll, created a force that won a second consecutive MPSF regular season title. Team Troy was the runner-up in the NCAA Championship (playing in its third NCAA Final Four in four years) and competed in its sixth consecutive Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Tournament (advancing to the semifinals).
Setting and achieving lofty goals is nothing new for McKibbon. The opposite hitter places emphasis on keeping the same pace on the court as last year’s team. The 2013 team lost two seniors to graduation, however, McKibbon stands on the fact that it lost quality over quantity. “Well we didn’t lose that many seniors, but the ones we lost were very key players,” rationalized McKibbon. “We do have some talented players to fill those positions and our team will have the ability to adapt and adjust in order to succeed this coming season.” The 2012 team was loaded with underclassmen: 12 freshmen and five sophomores. “Our team will still be able to compete at a very high level next year, but there will be a lot of new faces on the court and that’s not a bad thing,” declared McKibbon. “The incoming freshmen Billy [Bill Ferguson], [Jeff] Nygaard and Cam [Cameron Green] have recruited are at the top of their class. I was able to watch them all play at [the Junior Olympics] this summer because I was coaching Manhattan Beach Surf 18s, and I can attest that they will be a large asset to our team.”
In terms of bleeding cardinal and gold, McKibbon has quite the Trojan lineage. “My Uncle Owen and Aunty Claudia were both Trojans, but really growing up in Hawai’i there was never any pressure to go to USC,” said McKibbon. “My family was never really a Trojan Family growing up, but as my brother went to SC, and so do I, our little brother Jameson, who’s 13, thinks he might want to be a Trojan down the road.” McKibbon modestly neglects to state how those family members left their legacies as Men and Women of Troy on the volleyball teams. His uncle, Owen, lettered in 1983-84-86-87, as the Trojans finished second at the NCAA Championships during his last two seasons. His aunt, Claudia, was a letterwinner on the Women of Troy’s 1980 national championship team and his older brother, Riley, was a setter (2008-11) and led USC to a pair of NCAA Championship appearances (placing second in 2009 and tying for third in 2011).
His family has amassed a notable amount of airline miles over the years, flying from Honolulu to Los Angeles to watch their volleyball players compete. “My Dad comes probably once every two months if not more, and the whole family, my Mom and Jameson, (Riley is playing in Italy for most of the year) come up for two maybe three games a season.”
McKibbon has an idea of how he wants to shape his last season as a Trojan. “For me, I think I’ll be an outside hitter for our team, and as for the other outside and middle blocker positions, we have returners and incoming freshmen that can play at a very high level and be able to compete for the positions on day one.” The Trojan Family will be watching him as he applies his veteran knowledge to help lead his team back to the national championship this spring!