A veteran of the Wesleyan volleyball program, senior outside hitter Malae Fiaseu has been a very influential player throughout her four year career with the Wolves program.
Malae has received many accolades while being a student-athlete at Wesleyan. She began her career on a high note, being named Great South Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year while also earning All-Freshman and All-Conference honors. She continued producing greatness over the remainder of her career and was recognized as the Wesleyan Team MVP in 2013 and 2016 as well as earning a spot on the USA South All-Academic team last season.
Serving as team captain all four years of her playing career, Malae has proven herself to be a natural leader on the court. She has been a great role model for the team's younger players and does a great job leading by example. “Malae was a great presence to have on the court," remarks Wesleyan head volleyball coach Chanel Davis. "Her intensity and leadership was always consistent, and I never had to worry about her not showing up and giving anything less than 100%.”
The Honolulu, Hawai’i, native came to Wesleyan after spending all of her life on the island, desiring new scenery here on the east coast. Initially, her sole focus was to be on academics, but her love for the game of volleyball pulled her back to the court when she arrived in Macon.
“I had been in Hawai’i all my life and needed to get away and grow as a person. I originally wanted to attend school and focus only on my academics. However, upon my arrival to Wesleyan, it felt very weird not playing, so I decided that I would,” said Fiaseu.
A chemistry major, Malae has plans following graduation to move to Alaska and pursue a career in Neuropsychology. “I am so proud of Malae for providing strong leadership to her volleyball team for four consecutive years while pursuing her neuroscience major. She is a true scholar-athlete, and she will leave quite a legacy when she graduates,” stated Wesleyan College President Vivia Fowler.
Wesleyan College and the athletic department very much appreciate all of the hard work and time Malae has put into being an outstanding student-athlete. She will be greatly missed and filling her shoes will not be easy. “Malae has seen our program though many changes and continues to pursue excellence on and off the court,” says athletic director Nicki DiMarzio. “Off the court, she is a true Division III student-athlete, involved in many groups on campus while maintaining a solid academic performance. She has been a great role model for our younger players and has helped shape the direction the volleyball program plans to move.”
Interview with Malae Fiaseu
Favorite Wesleyan volleyball memory:
My freshman year when we played against a team that was rude, disrespectful, and racist towards us. We lost the first two sets and thought that was it for us but we pushed through it, zoned out what was going on around us, and came back in every set after that and won the whole match with only 7 players.
Do you have any relatives who attended Wesleyan?
Do you have any relatives who played collegiate athletics?
Yes. Four of my brothers and two of my sisters played in college.
Favorite class you've taken at Wesleyan:
Drugs and Behavior with Dr. Rowan.
Most influential professor, coach or staff member you've encountered during your time at Wesleyan and why:
Coach Caroline Carlton (Volleyball Coach 2015-2016) - Caroline always stayed positive and enthusiastic even in the face of adversity. A big smile and even bigger personality that just drew people toward her, she inspired not only me but a lot of people she came in contact with to be better and to go beyond what they thought was their limit. And she always made sure everyone was okay even if they weren’t a part of the team. I thank Caroline for being that extra push I needed a lot of days. I thank her for keeping a positive attitude even when I know it was hard.
Dr. Nicholas Steneck (History Professor)- Dr. Steneck inspired me to want to be a more cultured individual. I love when I’m able to take his class because I find myself wanting to know more and familiarize myself more with other cultures and ways of life. When I took his Chinese class, he brought people in from China who taught us about their culture, and it was amazing. A great phrase to describe him would be patient yet demanding. Dr. Steneck has always been patient with me while he still expected so much of me. He cares and he is always concerned with me and how our volleyball season is going. He inspired me to be patient with myself while still pushing myself and knowing that I can do more.
Freda Gaines and Candice Cagle are hidden gems at Wesleyan who go unnoticed sometimes. They work in the registrars office and without them I am not sure I would have made it this far. When I don’t believe in myself, was having a rough day, or was struggling in a class, I always knew I could stop by the registrars office and seek wisdom, guidance, and encouragement. They're always honest with me even if it’s not what I want to hear. They’ve always stayed on me about doing well in my classes and challenged me to be a better me in and out of the classroom. I am grateful for them.
Is there anything we don't know about you yet that you want others to know?
- Though I'm from Hawai’i, I don’t surf.
- I enjoy singing, playing the ukulele, and doing my cultural dances.
- I enjoy teaching volleyball.
- Though I am from Hawai’i, I am Samoan. I am the youngest of 10 children and the only one in my family that lives on the east coast besides one of my sisters.
- My favorite food is Loco Moco, a popular dish in Hawai’i consisting of an egg over a hamburger steak with gravy that lies on a bed of rice and Mac salad.