April 14, 2024

PVL: How Kalei Mau, Lindsey Vander Weide led Brooke Van Sickle to Petro Gazz

PVL: How Kalei Mau, Lindsey Vander Weide led Brooke Van Sickle to Petro Gazz
Art by JJ Zaldivar, One Sports

It's a small, small volleyball world. And Brooke Van Sickle is grateful for it.

Apparently, former F2 Logistics Cargo Movers outside hitter Kalei Mau and Petro Gazz Angels' Best Import and Finals MVP Lindsey Vander Weide were instrumental in Brooke's path towards playing in the PVL.

She also got to Alohi Robins-Hardy and Tai Bierria, who used to suit up for the Cignal HD Spikers as well.

 

Van Sickle met Mau some three years ago, as they both hail from the island of Oahu in Hawaii.

"Super nice woman, very inspirational, just positive energy to be around," Brooke told One Sports of Kalei.

"She would always talk about the Philippines. That's how my dreams and aspirations to play here started, because of Kalei," Van Sickle shared.

Brooke played as a libero and outside hitter for the University of Oregon for two seasons, and then competed in beach volleyball for another season. She then went to the University of Hawaii where she was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-American First Team for two consecutive years.

Van Sickle then competed in Cyprus, where she met Bierria. It was Mau who sparked Van Sickle's interest in playing for the Philippines. It was meeting other players who had experience here , such as Alohi Robins-Hardy and Bierria, who pushed Brooke forward.

"They always talk super positive about it. I had to try for myself," Brooke said.

"Don't get me wrong, Cyprus was fun. But once I heard I could come here, game over. I want to play here, I want to immerse myself in the culture, get in touch with my family, roots and everything. It's just, I'm blessed."

"Basically my dream was to play here. I was very stubborn, right? 'Okay, who do I know can help me?'" She recounted.

That ended up to be Lindsey Vander Weide, her senior at the University of Oregon.

"I actually talked to her today," Brooke shared during the interview.

"I lived in the same area she lived in. (Asked) what's her favorite food place. She was very helpful."

"I'm positive she would come back."

  

Joining Petro Gazz and playing in the Philippines is all sorts of homecoming for Brooke.

Her grandfather was born in San Emilio, Ilocos Sur and moved to Hawaii in his early 20s. Brooke's mother, Lisa, was born there.

And volleyball is definitely in her blood, with both parents having played in Hawaii.

"It was a surprise for everyone in our family when this opportunity came. We're super grateful, very excited to get in touch with our culture," she said.

And when Van Sickle first met with the Petro Gazz team a few days ago, it was as if she found a new family.

"I was a little shy at first. I walk in and instantly they were like, 'Sister!!!'" Van Sickle recounted, laughing. "It was really funny. It made my day for sure."

"This is the fastest I felt really close to a team," she added. "I couldn't be more happy and grateful for the opportunity I get."

Van Sickle is joining an experienced Petro Gazz squad with Rem Palma as the new captain, along with recruits Michelle Morente, Ethan Arce, and Mary Joy Dacoron, along with the returning Myla Pablo. 

The Angels will also be entering the 2024 season with new Japanese tactician Koji Tsuzurabara