Athlete of the Week: Sophia Breihof


Olivia Galbraith

Senior Sophia Breihof has played volleyball, baseball, and softball all four years at La Salle.

Olivia Galbraith, Editor

For three-sport athlete senior Sophia Breihof, playing sports allows her to remove herself from anything overwhelming in the world, acting as a “destressor.”

Breihof plays volleyball, softball, and basketball. “I play sports because not only do I love it, but it’s a distraction from everything and anything going on at home or in the world,” she said. “It’s just a place where I can go, put social media [and] electronics down, not worry about anything… Although sports are very stressful, I can go to any practice and just feel any stress or pressure that I have on me just relieved.”

Breihof has played for La Salle all four years in each of her sports. However, she has been dedicated to athletics long before La Salle, as she has played for various school and club teams prior to high school.

Her softball career started at age five, for example, beginning with T-ball and advancing to more competitive club teams such as Amateur Softball Association, as well as a travelling team. Her volleyball and basketball careers began in third and fourth grade, respectively — she played volleyball through her middle school, All Saints, then began playing with Rose City Volleyball Club in sixth grade, which fed into a new club called Live Aloha Volleyball Academy her freshman year.

After club volleyball her freshman year, she stopped playing club softball and volleyball in order to focus on her La Salle teams. Even after playing each sport for many years, Breihof said she doesn’t necessarily have a favorite, though her connection to softball from a young age sets it apart from volleyball and basketball.

“I don’t have a favorite, but the one I’d probably… say [I’m] more passionate about is possibly softball, just because I’ve been playing it for the longest,” she said. “My grandpa used to umpire… so softball and baseball has always just been in my family ever since I was little, so if I wasn’t playing I would be in the field with him after school, working the field and stuff.”

In past years, playing three sports can make for a busy schedule because of trainings, open gyms, and practices overlapping with each other. Breihof said that when she was a freshman, there was a lot of crossover in the fall between her sports, and trying to balance schedules while also getting to know her coaches felt “crazy” at times.

But when the pandemic hit during her junior year with softball season right around the corner, she said that there wasn’t “even a full week of practice for softball,” and COVID-19 prevented her junior season from happening at all. The following year though, as sports seasons were altered and occurring out of their typical order, she said her seasons felt “crammed.”

“We found out we were actually going to get a volleyball season, so I told my other sports, I was like, ‘Okay, it’s my senior year, [with] COVID and everything… I’m not going to come to any more open gyms and stuff until the season starts,’” she said. “I need to really focus on the sport I’m in right now, just with COVID I need to be super cautious.”

Once the volleyball season had ended, she said she went straight into the softball season, and then again went right into playing basketball after her softball season. “It was a lot,” Breihof said. “In my head I was like, ‘Wow that was like one sports season, we just crammed two into one and now I’m starting another one.” 

As for how she has able to manage her time throughout this busy period, “I genuinely have no clue,” she said. Keeping in touch with her teammates about scheduling helped her to stay in the loop about current and upcoming seasons, but the way the pandemic often limited communication to texting and social media made this more difficult. “I honestly have no clue how I did it before COVID and I have no clue how I did it during COVID,” she said.

Being a multi-sport athlete helps her to stay motivated, however. “I could be like, ‘Okay, I’m drained, my body aches and stuff, I am just mentally exhausted from this one sport,” she said. “[But] just knowing that, yeah, you have another sport coming up and that’s going to be exhausting too, but it’s a different sport, so you’re doing different things.”

One of the biggest differences between club sports and high school sports for Breihof is the travelling aspect. In playing club sports, she would often have long weekends playing in different cities, whereas playing for La Salle allowed her to stay local for competitions. “You don’t have to worry about being up and leaving for Salem at 4:30 in the morning,” she said.

In addition to the difference in travel, Breihof said that there is also a difference in the connections she built with her La Salle teammates versus her club teammates. “I had great bonds with my club team and I love all the girls,” she said. “I still talk to them all the time, but being able to go to school and hanging out with the girls outside sports-related things all the time, it’s just amazing because you get a different bond. Granted… you can still hang out with the club girls and stuff and whatnot, it’s just, there’s just something different.”

One of the highlights from her time playing sports at La Salle include the game against Wilsonville on her senior night for volleyball. “Our team just had, like something clicked. We had a good team, but this game something clicked where we were all just in sync… and we played as one,” she said. “We ended up beating them and it was just amazing.”

Breihof mentioned a similar moment against Wilsonville during her senior softball season, where the team went up against tough competition and came out feeling like “we accomplished something amazing,” she said. 

She said that a highlight from her time playing basketball at La Salle was her sophomore year, when the team won state.

As her senior basketball season nears its finish, Breihof said her goal for the team is to maintain the energy that the team brings to the sport. “We play with so much heart and so much passion every game,” she said. “I just want us to continue that and to work as a team like we do every single day.” 

Breihof will be attending Grand Canyon University next year, but is not going to play sports at the collegiate level. As her senior sports seasons have ended, she said that it has been sad knowing that she has played her last high school games. “It’s hard knowing,” she said, “but I’m ready for the new chapter.”