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Volleyball outside hitter not returning, declines redshirt

At senior night, Flavia Silveira said goodbye to the USF women’s volleyball team, but not to volleyball.

Despite having one year of eligibility left, Silveira, a senior outside hitter, will not play with the Bulls next season, but – depending on her injured shoulder – she did not rule out playing volleyball somewhere else.

“I graduate over the summer,” Silveira said, “so I might transfer somewhere else for my last year – since I redshirted my first year – but nothing’s for sure. I first have to see if I’ll be able to play. I need to heal my shoulder first.”

Silveira transferred to USF from Frank Phillips College and, as a junior, led the team in kills per game (4.18) and hitting percentage (.228) and finished fifth in Conference USA with 4.59 points per game.

“I had a great time my first year,” Silveira said. “I had a lot of expectations for this year, but unfortunately I couldn’t play; so it’s kind of hard to accept that.”

Silveira tried to fight through her injured shoulder by playing in four games this season. In the Bulls’ Oct. 2 match against West Virginia, which was Silveira’s last game, the senior from Brazil logged 10 kills and 18 digs for her only double-double this the season.

“Flav is one of the toughest kids I’ve ever coached,” coach Claire Lessinger said. “Not only on the floor from an athletes standpoint, but just as a person, she is so emotionally strong – I know it’s been a tough road for her with the injuries.”

Even though Silveira was injured, she still worked hard to be a part of the team.

“While she’s been out, we’ve kept her a part of everything,” Lessinger said. “She’s traveled and she’s in practice; she’s in video; she’s in everything so that she can be a voice of ours on the bench.

She did a lot of things from the bench that we couldn’t ever replicate as coaches, and the players respect her and listen to her.”

Silveira had nothing but good things to say about Lessinger.

“I learned a lot from her,” Silveira said. “I will definitely miss that, because I don’t think many other coaches are like her and as involved as she is with the team. I had a great time and I’m definitely going to miss her coaching.”

Even though the Bulls came out ahead against North Florida, some of the players were taken aback by Silveira departure.

“I’m so upset about it. I’m not going to lie,” sophomore Michelle Stalbaum said. “She’s always been there for me, and she’s going to be missed; not only by me, but by the entire team. She’s what held us together.”

Silveira may play volleyball again at another school, but she’ll miss her friends on the team.

“I like my teammates – of course I will miss them,” Silveira said. “I would love to stay here next year, but I’m going to graduate. I’m not sure if I will be playing somewhere, so it’s a matter of time.”