LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The University of Arkansas at Little Rock volleyball team is hitting their home court tomorrow for the first time this season, but for a couple of players this is the first time playing at home in their career. That’s because COVID protocols kept them not only off the court but out of the United States altogether.
The Trojans are back in action prepping for their first home matches of the season, but for a couple of these players they’re just getting back into the swing of things
“I’m from Brazil. I’m from Rio De Janeiro,” Middle Blocker Victoria Cavalcanti said.
Cavalcanti and defensive specialist Livia Kimura were both stuck in their home country Brazil last season and unable to get back to the states because of covid restrictions.
“It was hard. It was hard watching them playing, being here, practicing,” Kimura said.
They had to watch practices through a screen and find creative ways to stay in shape.
“He put the zoom call for me and the other Brazilian and we were like for three hours watching the girls play,” Cavalcanti
“All the fitness centers were closed. There was no gym open, so we had to keep working hard at home,” Kimura said.
They hoped they’d make it back before the 2020 season ended.
“We thought okay maybe they’ll come first of September, then we thought maybe the first of October then after we got through October, we said okay they’re not coming,” Head Coach Van Compton said.
Compton said it was tough playing without two key team members.
“We needed both of them,” Compton said.
As vaccinations rolled out and restrictions lifted, they are back in the gym and working hard to make up for lost time.
“It was a little bit harder when we first got here and we had to catch up on a lot of things physically and volleyball too,” Kimura said.
As these players get closer to stepping on their home court for the first time, they say covid may have taken a set but they will win the match.
“I’m so excited. I can’t wait to see this all full of people,” Kimura said.
“Oh, the best feeling ever. We’re so ready. We’re practicing so hard for that and I think this is our moment,” Cavalcanti said.
The Trojans open their three-game homestand tomorrow against Troy.