Cordes' family legacy continues at Arizona through beach volleyball
Caroline Cordes’ sports journey with Arizona beach volleyball comes with a bit of family history. The UA redshirt freshman is but another member of the Cordes’ family legacy to walk the University of Arizona Mall.
Her father, Bill Cordes, was a quarterback for the football team in the 1980s. Her mother, Kristin, is an Arizona alumnus as well.
Caroline has two older brothers: Jack and Kevin. Jack plays basketball for Hillsdale College in Michigan. Her other brother, Kevin, is a former NCAA swimming champion, Arizona graduate and current Olympian. He was a member of the 2016 U.S. Men’s Olympic Swimming Team, where he took fourth place in the men’s 100-meter breaststroke.
Coming from a family of multi-talented athletes had a strong impact on Caroline’s work ethic and athletic journey.
“It really motivated me to work harder and make my own way with beach volleyball,” Caroline said. “I used to be a swimmer, but I didn’t want to follow in my brother’s [Kevin] footsteps so I started to play volleyball.”
Coming from a family of athletes means Caroline will always have people to look up to. Although being the sibling of an Olympic swimmer might seem like a lot of pressure, Caroline said she was never affected by this; she created her own path.
“I never really felt any pressure to play one sport. I used to play soccer, basketball, and swim, but I found my own with beach volleyball and decided to stick with it,” Caroline said.
Caroline’s performance on the courts has helped keep a big part of the Cordes’ legacy alive at the university. Even after her brother’s departure from the school a couple years back, Caroline strives to make a lasting impact during her four short years in Tucson.
Even today, Caroline’s parents come out to Bear Down Beach to support the sophomore Sand Cat and their own alma mater in all things sports.
Something the Cordes’ family, and now Caroline, had to balance are daily struggles of being a student-athlete who’s invested in both academics and athletics.
Caroline had interest in moving to Tucson to become involved in the business program.
“I knew that the University [of Arizona] had a great business school,” Caroline said. “So, I really wanted to come here for that.”
Between her myriad of business classes and time spent with the beach volleyball program, Caroline admitted being a student-athlete is a challenging balancing act.
“The hardest part is definitely finding the time to get ahead in school so that when competition weekend rolls around, I can focus on competing,” Caroline said. “I’m definitely in the library at least four times a week.”
As a part of the beach volleyball program, Caroline is required to attend practice every day for two hours, lift three days a week, and compete on the weekends, whether it be at Bear Down Beach or on the road.
On the flip side, as a current business student, Caroline has class every day until 4 p.m. and goes to tutoring until about 5 or 6 p.m. that same night.
“There are nights where I’m in McKale until about seven or eight at night,” Caroline said.
Another wrench thrown in her way has been the rigorous travel schedule. The Sand Cats have traveled to California several times this year and have even made a trip all the way to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Caroline realizes being on the road only makes her life that much more difficult.
“During season, when we are traveling, school can get a bit overwhelming, especially if I have a test the upcoming week,” Caroline said.
On the sand, Caroline has seen more of the spotlight this season. As a freshman, she did not see much action as she was redshirted, but this year, she has been playing on the No. 5 team with her current partner-in-crime, Makenna Martin. Caroline has played a role in crucial wins for the ‘Cats this season, defeating strong teams such as No. 17 Stetson, New Mexico and San Jose State.
Caroline said she is looking to make the final push for her sophomore year, as she gets ready to wind down her season and classes before heading into the summer.
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