[upbeat music] Monica Tran: Hi guys!
This is On the Flats. I’m your host Monica Tran. Today we’ll be speaking
with the outside hitter of the GT volleyball team, Gabriella. Not only is she a star player,
but she is also an international student from Brazil. So please sit back
and enjoy the interview! Gabi Stavnetchei: I was 10,
around 10 years old, and my family always played sports. I always played
a lot of sports, too. But when I was 10,
I started going to volleyball club, I guess. And I just like it,
and I just stuck with it. My mom plays a little,
but she started when she was older,
so it wasn’t really competitive; it was just more for fun. While in Brazil, everybody━ volleyball is a little bit
different in the sense that everybody plays volleyball
since they’re really little, and they watch volleyball,
and it’s just like part of our lives kind of thing. Here, volleyball
is not a big deal. The main in Brazil was soccer
and then volleyball. Here, it’s football,
basketball, baseball; I don’t even know where
volleyball is in this. But a lot of the girls started
when they are 15 maybe, and they’ve never
watched volleyball on TV or anything like that. So that’s
a little bit different. And also, in Brazil,
we’re really shoddy, and here it’s a lot about, like,
strength and physical. And so I think that’s
the main difference. In Brazil, when you go
after high school, you have to choose if you want to go pro
or do you want to go to college, and I wasn’t ready to give up
volleyball and have a degree was important for me
and for my family. So I wasn’t just
going to go volleyball, because that’s just risky. I mean, you don’t know
what’s going to happen, and if you get injured
or whatever it is, so I wasn’t ready to
make that decision. So I started searching online,
and I saw that here in the U.S. you could do both;
you could play volleyball and go to college. So I started the process and,
honestly, when I came here, I had no idea
what I was going to do. So I started as
Industrial Engineering, just because I’m at Tech
and it just made sense. But freshmen year,
during the summer, I was taking Calc 2
and Physics 1, and it was just really awful, because those classes
are really hard. And I was just not happy,
and so that’s when I decided that, why was I doing that for,
because it’s not something that I’m passionate about
or I wanted to do it. And it was just going
through hard classes for, I don’t know why. So I started looking to
other majors here at Tech, and I liked the
international part of things, maybe, I don’t know, because
I’m from Brazil and I’m here. But I also liked the math
and the economics, so I thought that was going
to be a good major for me. We are just like
all the other students here. We still have to take all
of those classes, and we have to get
the same grades. And you have your coaches
that want you to do well. You have your academic advisor
that want you to do well, too. And whenever you have a balance
in your life, like socially and school and volleyball,
that’s when things go well. The thing that helped me
the most was the people. Like, I got really connected
with my teammates, and I made other friends. They were all really helpful
with me. They also━they always helped me
with the English. Of course they always
make fun of me, too. But I don’t care,
because I always tell them, “I speak two languages,
and you don’t!” So that’s all right. But they’re always
really helpful, and they were always there for me
and always try to help me with whatever I need. So I always had
really good teammates. I think that’s what
helped me, too. And also the fact that
I really don’t have a lot of free time. Didn’t give me time to think,
like miss home or think about other things. So the thing━always in class,
always playing, always studying, just helped me get settled,
I guess. Volleyball is such a team sport. You can’t win by yourself, and
you also don’t lose by yourself. So every person in the team
have to have the same goals and the same mentality;
we all have to work hard. All the girls are really awesome
and we are generally friends and we like to do things
together out of the court. And that translates
into the court, too, just because everybody just
wants the best for each other, and we’re just friends. Michelle was the one
that recruited me. I think I was her first recruit. So I’ve been here
since she got here. And we’ve been building
this relationship, and it’s gotten stronger. She’s from Brazil as well,
so I guess this Portuguese thing helps. And also the other
coaching staff, they’re all really good, we got
to know each other pretty well. So as an outside hitter,
you have to know how to do everything because the
outside passes, blocks, hits, serves, play defense. So it’s one of the positions
that you really have to know how to do everything. When things are not going well
and balls are not getting to the setter where it’s
supposed to, the balls go to the
outside hitters, and we have to score. We have to just be there
when the team needs it. This year we have
around eight freshmen, which is a lot of freshmen,
so we want to make them feel like they’re part of our team
and they weren’t like less than us just because
they got here. So we always try to have the
mentality that we’re all equal, and we’re all the same. So I think that’s something
we focus on, but we also like try
to advise them and like tell them things that
we wish someone had told us. And like how to make life easy
and how to just do volleyball and school. So we just try to talk a lot
and be there for them if they need us. I really want to go
to the tournament, and I’m hoping this year,
we can get there. It’s been a while
that Georgia Tech volleyball doesn’t go to
the NCAA tournament. And last year,
we were really, really close. And this year the goal is that
once I hope we can make it, and that’s going to be
my biggest accomplishment. As far as what am I going to do
after this, I have no idea yet. I have a couple options,
but I really don’t know. And I don’t really want to think
about those things right now, just because I don’t have time,
and, as I said, the season’s all
about volleyball. But in spring,
when I come back from Brazil, I probably just going to
really need to figure that out, because after that it’s a wait
of three, four months until I graduate. Monica Tran: Big thanks
to the volleyball team and Gabriella! Show your support
to one of our teams and come to one of our games. I’m your host, Monica Tran,
and this is On the Flats. [upbeat music]