By Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer
Andressa Parise has been wearing green and gold for a long time, but it hasn’t always been for Baylor.
Parise grew up in Caudades, a small town in the Santa Catarina region of Brazil. Volleyball is a much bigger part of Brazilian sports culture than it is in the states, and it leads to very different youth sports dynamics.
“It was actually the only sport for girls in my town, back at the time,” Parise said. “It was the only sport the town had, and I had lots of free time, so I just tried it and it worked.”
Upon leaving Brazil, Parise’s arrival in the states was a bit of a culture shock. Parise quickly noticed that the materials and amenities available to athletes in the US were of much higher quality than those she had access to while in Brazil. Sports in Brazil, while still a key part of the culture, are much less organized than they are in America. Sports and education also interacted very differently in Parise’s childhood.
“Their volleyball is not linked to education … They don’t care if you have class during practice time, because you got to be in practice, the same way the school doesn’t care if you have a game,” Parise said.
Before coming to Baylor, Parise spent two seasons playing junior college volleyball with St. Petersburg College in St. Petersburg, FL. During her time as a Titan, Parise led the NJCAA in hitting efficiency with an attack percentage of over 50%. She was an All-Conference selection in both of her years in Florida, while also picking up the Suncoast Conference Player of the Year award and an All-American nod in 2019.
Parise said the jump from St. Petersburg to Baylor brought with it another adjustment, but assuredly a welcome one.
“[Baylor] is very invested in sports, so when I came to visit everyone just welcomed me,” Parise said. “Everyone seemed excited to see me here.”
Head coach Ryan McGuyre said the fit was seamless from the start.
“Everything she was looking for we could provide, and everything we needed was perfect,” McGuyre said. “She’s adapted and bought in and jumped in very well.”
The 2020 season will be Parise’s first in Waco, but the team has already gone the extra mile to make Texas feel like home.
“We went to a team retreat and they were just the best with me,” Parise said. “They made a Brazilian dessert, they played my music — they were so, so embracing and welcoming … They were a second family.”
Parise said that playing for Baylor would grant her the opportunity to make the jump into professional volleyball once she finishes her collegiate career. Although she’s entering Baylor with a senior classification, Parise will have the chance to return to Baylor next year due to the NCAA’s decision to give all fall sport athletes an extra year of eligibility.