The Secret Weapon; Victoria MonasteroloOctober 19, 2005 · Adam Parker, Special to GoBlueRiaders.com
Her name is Victoria Monasterolo. "I think the other schools focus mostly on defending our two other players Ashley Adams and Andressa Lyra, and that frees Victoria up to score a lot of points," said Head Coach Matt Peck. "And that's won a lot of matches for us."
Monasterolo's performance on the volleyball court owes itself not only to her boundless athletic ability, but also her personality traits. She is a selfless player who will dive into the floor if that's what it takes to prevent her opponents from scoring a point. She specializes in defense (she led the team in digs in 2003), but will gladly play whatever position Coach Peck asks her play, throwing aside her personal ambition for the greater good of the team.
"Victoria is the type of player who would accept whatever role that is given to her," Peck said. "Even if she was in a role where she wasn't contributing a lot." Even when she's not playing a position that shows off her strengths, Monasterolo still plays exceedingly well. Case in point: there is only one player for the Blue Raiders has who scored more kills this season than Monasterolo, team leader and captain, Andressa Lyra. And she is ranked second in terms of overall performance, out of a team of 14 players who have won 21 of their 23 matches, no less.
Monasterolo dedicates everything about herself to the game, including her emotions. You hear it in her voice when she spikes the ball. And you can see the determination written on her face. In a word: intense. She is one of those rare players who gushes emotion but does not drop her baggage on her teammates, her opponents, or herself in the heat of a match.
"If we have to yell at Victoria in practice or in a match, it doesn't affect her at all in a negative way," Peck said. "She's fine with it. She moves on to the next ball. She's a great teammate."
Off the court, she wears her emotion on her face, too. Here, it's not a look that can kill, but a wide-eyed smile. You cannot help but smile back.
In 2003 Monasterolo decided to take her studies to the next level by attending college. But she wanted to take her game to college, too. However, the colleges in her native country, Argentina, do not give volleyball the kind of respect it that it gets here in the United States. With that in mind, Monasterolo, who loves to travel, looked at several universities in the U.S. before deciding that Middle Tennessee would best satisfy her thirst for knowledge and her love of the game.
When Monasterolo first donned her Middle Tennessee blue and white jersey as a freshman in the fall of 2003, she quickly made a name for herself. She not only led the team in digs, but also demonstrated her versatility, scoring 10 kills in a match against Florida International University and 36 attacks vs. Memphis. In 2003, Monasterolo proved herself to be whatever her teammates needed whenever they needed it.
Unfortunately, Monasterolo would have to wait until 2005 to play another game due to an injury, which left her red-shirted for the entire 2004 season.
With more digs per game and more kills per game this season than ever before, Monasterolo has made it clear that she is back and better than ever. But the statistics, as impressive as they are, don't tell the full story.
It takes more than numbers to sum up a player who brings so much positive energy to the game. Just watch Monasterolo and it is understood what she does for team, her opponents, and the spectators. It is a moving experience.
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