Starting a new program is not an easy thing to do, but the Mashpee High School volleyball team did have one ace up its sleeve when the Falcons began competitive action back in the spring. MHS had Olivia Oliveira in the system.
Coach Kaleigh Greene has called Oliveira “our most consistent player,” and the Falcons libero—a dedicated defender—is certainly the most experienced on the team. She is a big reason that the team’s promotion to the varsity level of competition has seen the team compete at a high level.
Olivia is the daughter of Zildete Oliveira and Vanderley De Oliveira. A strong student, her favorite subject in school is AP Psychology. She is the Mashpee chapter president of the Health Occupations Students of America Mashpee chapter and earned first place in the HOSA State Leadership Conference on Researched Writing and Persuasive Speaking as a sophomore. She also helped her club volleyball team to win first place in the NERVA tournament in 2020.
Olivia works part-time at the Christmas Tree Shop in Sagamore. Her prized possession is a ring that belonged to her late grandmother. She said “New Girl” is her favorite TV show and cereal and or oatmeal is her favorite dish.
How did you get involved with volleyball? How much do you enjoy it? What is your role on the team?
I began playing around three years ago with my school team and immediately fell in love with the sport and joined a club team. I am a libero on both my school and club teams and I greatly enjoy this position, it couldn’t be more fitting for me.
The varsity program did not exist at Mashpee until last year. What has it been like to be a part of building something new, and what has the growth been like?
We all began playing as a junior varsity team and a freshman team around three years ago, although last year was the first year our school officially implemented a varsity team for the volleyball program at Mashpee. Seeing our growth from our sophomore year to senior year has definitely been an unforgettable experience and I am so glad I had the opportunity to play this truly amazing sport.
What is your role this year with the team? What do you need to do to help make the team successful, and how do you plan on implementing that?
I have been a co-captain on varsity both my junior and senior years of high school, currently alongside with Cheyenne Hendricks (setter) and Anaquhsees Pocknett (middle hitter). I find trust to be such an important factor on the team; forming strong bonds with each other on the team is beneficial on and off the court.
This year we began having “little sisters and big sisters,” where girls from our JV team are paired with girls on our varsity team. We use this as a support system if a younger player needs help with anything volleyball, or even non-volleyball related, and it has been a great way to get to know each other and form relationships between our teams.
Every sport requires developing skills. What is something that is difficult about your sport that the average person would not appreciate? What makes it difficult?
Definitely communication. Talking to each other and calling the ball is always a struggle, and not hesitating until it drops between the players. An average person normally does talk to others, but effectively communicating on the court can really make a huge difference.
What do you think a scouting report would say about you?
Probably the amount of effort I put in. Whether I am at a game or practice I try to put in all of my effort, even if that means diving into the bleachers which I have done before. No matter where I am on the court, I hustle to get to the ball at any cost.
If you could replay one game that you have played in, which one would it be? Why?
Definitely our first game, everyone tends to have so many nerves during the first game that we end up tense and not playing up to our full potential. Only after the first game is when we realize that we know how to play the sport and we just need to get out there and give it our all and not let any mistakes we might make get in our heads, because volleyball is an extremely mental sport and how you think during a game will affect how you play.
What do you consider the highlight of your athletic career so far?
So far I would probably consider the highlight of my athletic career has been being able to see my own growth as a player and a teammate, and not only my self growth but also the team as a whole, it has really been an amazing experience that I will be forever grateful for.
Who is the best teammate that you’ve ever played with? What makes that person stand out?
Not specifically one, but I believe Cheyenne Hendricks (setter) and Paris Widdis-Hendricks (outside hitter) to be the best teammates I’ve had the opportunity to play with. I don’t just mean skill, because yes they are both very talented players, but they also have such strong mindsets while playing volleyball. I always see that they are giving their all on the court and it is truly inspiring, from the pep talks they give and how they never seem to lose their energy and motivation during our games, this is how they both stand out in my opinion.
Do you have any sports-related superstitions? If so, what are they?
Not necessarily that I can think of at the moment; although I typically wait until the season is over for me to buy a new pair of knee pads, no matter how ripped or dented and dirty my current ones are.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from playing sports?
No matter if you win or lose, you do it together because a team is also a family. you have to build a strong bond of trust with everyone to efficiently communicate and play together.
If you could have one superpower what would it be? Why?
Most likely the ability to fly so that I could get to every ball without letting one drop.
Is there anyone that you would like to thank?
My mom for supporting me through my decisions, and for always coming to my games. I am also extremely grateful for our coach, Kaleigh Greene, because our volleyball program would not be the same without her, she is an amazing coach.
What’s the most interesting place you’ve ever visited? Is there somewhere in the world that you’ve always dreamed of visiting? Why?
I have visited Brazil various times, as my family is from parts of southern Brazil so we travel every year or so. Somewhere I have always dreamed of visiting would be Santorini, Greece. Its beauty and appearance of serenity has always attracted me, hopefully I can visit one day.
What’s the biggest difference between you as a senior and as a freshman? If you could go back, what advice would you give to your freshman self?
The biggest difference between myself as a senior and freshman is definitely the amount of self confidence. I used to be much less confident in myself and much more anxious and hidden than I am now. If I could go back to give myself advice it would probably be to keep fighting for what I want and dream of because in the end it will pay off, and that its ok to have bad days as long as I know I can still pick myself up from them and become an even better version of myself day by day.
What is something about you that people would be surprised to learn?
Not only am I a student-athlete, employee, and club president, but I also go to the gym to work out about six days a week. I feel like as an athlete, I naturally developed a passion for lifting and fitness in general, and it has also greatly helped improve my confidence, strength and agility as a player, and lifestyle.
If you could switch places with one person for a week, who would it be and what would you want to do?
I don’t really think I would want to switch places with anyone, at least not for an entire week. I just feel as though I am in a good place right now all in all and can see that all of my hard work has been paying off.
Describe your idea of the perfect day.
My idea of a perfect day would consist waking up early to have breakfast (my favorite meal of the day) and to get a head-start on my day, spend time doing the things I enjoy such as playing volleyball and going to the gym, and spending time with my family or closest friends.
What are your post high school plans?
I plan on receiving further education and attending a four (4+) year school, where I will also need to attain a doctorate. If I have the opportunity, I would also love to continue playing volleyball at the collegiate level.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully I will be in my desired career as a neuropsychologist by then or at least on my path to get there.