Made in Argentina. Double interview with Liza Garrido and Valentina Culaciati

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

A shared adventure in two different places in the United States: Liza Garrido student-athlete at the University of Illinois - Chicago and Valentina Culaciati student-athlete at Old Dominion University.

The two Argentine girls are having a wonderful experience in the United States. Two different but still interesting stories. This is why we decided to do a double interview: the same questions to understand the feelings and emotions experienced so far, with a very funny final part.

What is the balance of your experience in the United States so far?

LIZA: I've been in the United States for three months. Everything was a roller coaster of emotions. Volleyball could not be better, I notice the progress every day, I am gaining confidence on and off court. Academically, I couldn't be happier with the path I have chosen. Economics allows me to deepen different fields, plus there is also mathematics, a subject that I have never particularly loved, it is becoming interesting.. 

VALENTINA: The balance is super positive. Without a doubt, this experience is exceeding my expectations and there is still a long way to go. I am very lucky to be part of such a great group of people.

What has been the best moment so far?

LIZA: Without a doubt the best time so far was reaching the Horizon League final, winning the semifinals against Northern Kentucky. Even though we lost the first two sets, we won the game in 5 sets. An amazing feeling.

VALENTINA: Definitely the first game and then I would say the first victory. After a long wait, after this long period of uncertainty, getting in court was really excited.

What, on the other hand, was the most difficult moment?

LIZA: I don't think I've been through any major difficulties up to now. I feel at home from day one and all my teammates and coaches have helped me with everything I needed to settle in logistic, study and sport.

VALENTINA: VALENTINA: In general, the whole pandemic has had its ups and downs. Molti Many changes and uncertainties. Practicing for a year and a half without playing a single game was difficult for the team, but it was definitely worth the wait. e l'attesa.

What do you think this experience could bring you?

LIZA: This experience gives you everything in every angle: academic, sporting, personal. You meet people with different cultures and this opens your mind in an exceptional way. In sporting terms, I have learned that the concept of a team is the only thing that matters. Having a strong bond and union with the group brings you to the final stages of any championship, it pushes you to always give your best. This concept, in fact, I also apply it in my life in general. Personally, I believe that this experience will bring new people, new experiences, new opportunities into my life.

VALENTINA: Infinity aspects. The opportunity to combine study and volleyball, learning another language and getting to know another culture is something incredible. I know that in the future everything that I am learning and doing will help me to be more responsible, more mature. At a sporting level I know that I will improve my way of playing and above all my mentality.

What is your best value?

LIZA: I think my value is my ability to make friends and relate to new people. Since I came here I have met boys and girls from all over the world such as Pakistan, India, Vietnam, UK, Brazil, Korea and of course USA. Meeting people with different backgrounds and cultures makes me extremely happy, it enriches me.

VALENTINA: I have a positive vision, I always try to be optimistic in life as well as on the court. This vision, when we play, I try to pass it on to my teammates in terms of safety and confidence in themselves and in the team.

What, on the other hand, is your worst flaw?

LIZA: I think my biggest limitation today is communication, when I speak I gaggle a bit and my English still needs to improve. I want to focus in this, devote myself to the study of English in order to gain more confidence.

VALENTINA: I'm very demanding when it comes to volleyball and this sometimes doesn't allow me to enjoy my results. Often and willingly, I also lack patience, this is something I need to improve because, especially in sports, calm and self-control make the difference.

As a player coming from another country and therefore from another type of volleyball, what are the biggest differences you have noticed and what changes have you had to make in the USA?

LIZA: There are many differences between Argentine volleyball and American volleyball. I had to make a big change, adapt quickly to the style of play: from rotations (some coaches count rotations backwards), to the rules of the game and to the technique. It's another world and I'm trying my best to settle in as quickly as possible.

VALENTINA: Two aspects without a doubt: the speed and height of the spikers who are all over six feet here. I would point to these two if I were to point out the most obvious differences.

What is the thing you miss the most about Argentina?

LIZA: The dulce de leche! There's nothing I miss more than dulce de leche, I didn't even know I was so addicted to it.

VALENTINA: My dog, my friends and my family. And the food is also very different here than in Argentina.

Tell us something nobody knows about Valentina?

Valentina, first of all, knows how to imitate the accent of my province like no one else can. When we trained with the national team, we spent all the time together and so my way of speaking ended up influencing theirs too. On top of that I would say she also has an exquisite taste in music (we both really like Lana Del Rey). Finally, Valentina has the biggest heart there is. I am very happy to have met her and even happier to be her friend.

Tell us something nobody knows about Liza?

In 2017 Liza wrote a poem about a typical Argentine food. I'm sure she misses choripan more than her own family now! Jokes aside, she is like that, she's cheerful and funny and that's why I love her so much, I'm too happy to be her friend.

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