Myllena Torquetti had been playing beach volleyball in her native Brazil when COVID hit and everyone went into lockdown.
Now she is successfully playing for Odessa College and adapting to life in the U.S. and West Texas.
“… I think it was God that brought me here. I’m a Christian …,” Torquetti said.
She added that she had a lot of offers, but OC’s was the one that caught her attention.
Torquetti, who is from Belo Horizonte, is studying psychology and wants to be a coach for younger children. She enjoys both beach and hardcourt volleyball.
“And this way, I have a chance to work in Brazil and here, too, as a coach,” she said.
She hasn’t been home since Christmas and stayed over the summer taking classes and playing volleyball with her coach and some girls from the team.
Torquetti, 21, said there are several players from other countries, along with Brazil such as Italy, Portugal and the Dominican Republic.
At 6-1, she said she plays as an outside and inside pin and a middle blocker.
Torquetti said she has learned a lot playing for her coaches.
“… I just enjoy playing volleyball. It’s (fun). We have to take care of business sometimes, but yeah, I enjoy it,” Torquetti said.
She added that they have a very talented team this year.
“All the girls are super nice and we’re doing a good job of pushing ourselves in the way that we can be better and we can have a good season. All the girls now that are … freshmen, this is their first time that they are far from family. It’s like the same way that we are because my family is from Brazil, so it’s hard sometimes to have someone (to) talk (to) about family or deep things about you. … I have a lot of experience here and it is different, but it is good because I think I’ve learned and I’ve grow(n) so much as a person. Being far from home, it’s hard, but at the same time I have all those girls that can help me …,” Torquetti said.
She doesn’t know exactly what she wants to do after she finishes at OC.
“… I am a family person and I don’t know if I want to go back to Brazil and (be) with my family because now my grandma has Alzheimer’s, so it’s been complicated for me to process all that. But I want to continue my studies …,” Torquetti said.
The volleyball season starts in September and ends in November, but it’s full of games. There are 17 on the squad.
She said one of the main differences between Brazil and Odessa are that there is more fresh food in Brazil and the weather is different.
“(If) you’re in Brazil it is too hot, and here it’s too windy. And sometimes it’s cold and sometimes it’s hot. But I think the biggest difference for me is just the food,” Torquetti said.
She added that she loves the people at Odessa College.
“I think everyone is so kind and you can talk with the people around the campus. You can ask them things and they’re going to respect you and they’re going to say things to help you,” Torquetti said.
Assistant Coach Taylor Clark said Torquetti is the epitome of a servant leader.
“She leads by example. She leads by always putting everybody else first. She brings an incredible amount of knowledge to the team, but she also brings a calmness and stillness and a trust, which is super important, especially with us having so many freshmen. Between her and our other leaders, they literally turned it to where we don’t really see them as freshmen (and) sophomores anymore. We really see them as one unit of leaders wanting to get better. They lead each other in a way that’s so positive and uplifting and that stems from her and her other leaders,” Clark said.