Rodrigues making instant impact

Emilly Nogueira

Victoria Rodrigues never dreamed of playing on Everett High’s varsity volleyball team, certainly not as a freshman.

“In the summer, volleyball was my top priority,” the ninth-grader said. “I knew I actually wanted to do it and it wasn’t (just) for fun anymore. I knew I actually enjoyed the sport and that I wanted to go somewhere with volleyball.”

She’s moving faster than even she expected.

Rodrigues, 14, didn’t play volleyball until it became a way to pass the time during recess in middle school and in the summer.

“Tryouts were interesting,” she said. “I was so proud of myself, because that’s the goal I set for myself. When my name was called, it was like everything I did in the summer paid off.”

She finished her freshman year as a defensive specialist for the varsity team. She’s an important asset to the club, but that meteoric rise certainly hasn’t been easy. There are expectations to succeed on varsity and other things to balance while doing so. Rodrigues reminds herself that varsity coach Jen Spayne chose her to be part of the team and recognized her potential. 

With that potential comes a bit of a label. The team nicknamed her “Freshie V” because of the impact she had this season. 

“Knowing that I could make an influence on her, being an older member on the team, motivated me to do better,” said teammate Michelle Ngo. “I wanted to be a role model/big sister figure.”

Rodrigues’s personal favorite game of the season was her first after getting bumped up to varsity, a hard-fought loss against rival Malden. 

“If I’m nervous I’m not going to play any better,” she said. “I believe 1,000 percent that your mindset reflects on how you play. If you feel like you’re going to do bad, that reflects on you, and vice versa. The best advice that I could give to others who had the same hopes as me in the summer is to never settle for anything less than what you want.” 

Said Ngo: “She’s just so bright and she immediately lightens the tensions of the sport.”