UT senior Carol Cheade
Nov. 20, 2009
By Donnie Conley
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -Carol Cheade is a great reminder that sometimes, numbers don't tell the whole story.
Her statistics aren't eye-popping. The 6-2 senior from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has recorded 52 kills and 39 block assists in her time at Rocky Top. However, head coach Rob Patrick said that Cheade's contributions are extremely significant.
"We ask a lot out of her in practice and she does it all without complaining," Patrick said. "She comes in everyday, asks where we want her to play and then goes out there and plays that position to the best of her ability.
"No matter who is hitting, she puts up a challenging block and makes it difficult for our players to try and get kills, which helps them learn new shots and different things that they have to do. She's been a huge force for us. Unfortunately, not a lot of people have had the opportunity to see that."
Cheade came to UT in 2006 as a freshman. She admits that adjusting to a new country was more difficult than she anticipated.
"It wasn't easy," Cheade said. "Having to learn a new language, play a different style of volleyball and adjusting to little things like the weather and getting used to college life were both difficult and fun all at the same time."
She has played in 56 matches in her Tennessee career. Though she is listed as a middle blocker, Patrick said that her versatility makes her an asset to the team.
"She is a player that I can put in at any of the front-row positions - middle, right side or outside - at any time and feel comfortable that she is going to keep the team organized and do all the things at the net that we need to have done," Patrick said. "She's been a stabilizing force as a backup. Every time she goes in, she does an admirable job."
A three-time Academic All-SEC selection, Cheade is majoring in logistics and hopes to attend graduate school in something business-related. She has plans to help coach a club volleyball team next year and may pursue coaching as a career option.
"I would like to stay connected with volleyball after I graduate, whether it is coaching or just playing for fun," Cheade said. "I'm really looking forward to coaching club next year. It should be an interesting experience and give me a different perspective on the sport."
Patrick thinks that Cheade has all the tools necessary to succeed in coaching, should she choose it as a profession.
"The first thing about being a coach is developing and sustaining relationships and she is somebody that has the ability to get along with all types of people and has a great personality," Patrick said. "I would definitely encourage her to get into coaching because I think she would be a great mentor, both in teaching volleyball and the skills necessary to be successful in life."
The Lady Vols are currently 20-7 and have just three regular season matches remaining. With her Tennessee career winding down, Cheade offered some perspective for incoming players.
"Tennessee demands you to work hard because success is made out of hard work," she said. "I would tell any newcomers that they should always be open-minded, work as hard as they possibly can and enjoy every minute of it. It will be over before you know it."
The Lady Vols host No. 13 Florida tonight at Thompson-Boling Arena. The match is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.