Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors' Breanna Mackie expands her volleyball horizons
by rick olivares
Breanna Mackie stands a statuesque six-foot-three and is one half of the Great Pocari Sweat Wall. The other half includes her six-foot-four fellow American Andrea Kacsits who joins Desiree Dadang and Michelle Gumabao at the net. Just when they already had one of the Shakey’s V-League’s toughest net defense they’ve added more ceiling.
“It’s different over here,” says Mackie or “Bre” as she is called for short. “size-wise. You kinda get used to the tall players you go up against in the US and Europe but the passion for people to play is just the same.”
In two short years, the pretty blonde from Redding, California has been on one long road trip that has taken her across Europe to the Philippines and Hong Kong.
“When I was almost done with college volleyball, I knew it wasn’t done and I still wanted to play a little bit more,” related the Kinesiology graduate from Long Beach State in California where she also received her Masters Degree in Sports Psychology. “After graduation, I got my chance to play in Switzerland with VCB Cheseaux (where she was a teammate with BaliPure’s Kate Morrell). The first couple of months away from home was pretty hard but I learned to cope. Aside from pursuing your passion, the cool thing about being in Switzerland is you are in the middle of Europe and it can’t get any better than that.”
With the long European season over, Mackie was looking to head back home to the United States when Pocari team manager Eric Ty reached out to her about playing for the Lady Warriors in the SVL. “I told myself that I have to do this. It’s only a short season – three months and I can go home after.”
Both Mackie and Kacsits have been with the team for a month now and they appreciate getting in early to acclimatize themselves. “In the time that I’ve been here, our team has bonded well especially during that trip to Hong Kong where I understand it was a reward for their winning a championship early in the season. Andrea and I were fortunate enough to be invited along for that. Now we’re working on our play on the court.”
In her short time in Manila so far, Bre says that she appreciates this team more than the one she played with in Switzerland. “Not to say I didn’t like my previous team but my Pocari teammates have been very friendly and helpful. And I love the girls here. I haven’t been around a lot but so far, I love Tagaytay. I have also eaten balut,” she laughed and cringed at the same time. “Now that wasn’t very exciting and it was definitely crazy! I don’t think I will ever do that again!”
“The biggest thing that I learned about myself in this time abroad is learning what are my priorities are. And they are my relationships and to continue to build on those. It has also taught me to be grateful for what I have back in the States and all the opportunities that come my way. It’s very eye opening considering I am just playing out my passion.”