Freshman prepares for large role

A dream has become a reality for freshman Brittany Castelamare as she begins her volleyball career at USF this season.

Castelamare always wanted to be in a Bulls’ uniform, and she worked hard to get to the position she is in.

Castelamare’s mother, Heidi, graduated from USF and played volleyball for two years after transferring from Lake Michigan College. Brittany made up her mind as she started high school that she wanted to play Division-I volleyball at USF.

Coach Claire Lessinger remembers Castelamare coming to volleyball camps at USF before she even played a game in high school. Lessinger has watched her game evolve and is happy she decided to come to USF.

“It’s very hard to find players that grow up wanting to be a Bull,” Lessinger said. “She grew up in a Bull household, and she wanted to come here and have the opportunity to earn a position here, which is the intangible that you can’t find in many players.”

Castelamare knew USF was the perfect place after her first visit to the campus.

“I did think about the whole following-in-my-mother’s-footsteps aspect at first,” Castelamare said. “But I loved the players and the coaches when I first met them, and they were really positive, and that made my decision easy.”

Castelamare stood out in Pasco County after her impressive career at River Ridge, where she was a four-year letterman and two-time player of the year. Despite her accomplishments, Castelamare realized it’s a different atmosphere in college.

She is used to getting major minutes on the floor and being the go-to player on her team, but now she must realize there is a progression for playing time.

“It’s hard to adjust because I’ve never been in this situation before,” Castelamare said. “But I know I will get into the system, and I do have some big shoes to fill.”

Those shoes belong to fifth-year senior Juliana Noqueira, who has been working with Castelamare and has taken the freshman under her wing.

Lessinger believes this situation is perfect for Castelamare, because it gives her time to learn the position from a veteran player at the collegiate level. It also guarantees Castelamare will control the setter position for three years.

“The setter is like a quarterback, where you have to understand the people around you,” Lessinger said. “You have to adjust and adapt to different hitters, so we want her to understand that.”