Yumi Garcia left her home in the small town of Cerejeiras, Brazil, at the age of 14. Now, she is leading the country in digs per set, and breaking all kinds of records at Charlotte in just three years.
Garcia left her home to play volleyball at a higher level. She ended up doing what most 14-year-olds would never do. She moved across the country to another state to further her career. She was named Parana's U16 best libero in 2012 earning a call up to Brazil's National Team, that Garcia described as one of the best memories of her life.
She then was named Parana's best libero for U18 two years later.
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Garcia didn't know much about volleyball in the United States, but she knew she wanted to keep playing. She ended up leaving Brazil to play NAIA volleyball at Bethel University in Tennessee. After being named to the SSAC's All-Freshman, All-Conference and All-Tournament teams, she transferred to Charlotte to play D1 NCAA volleyball her last three years.
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Her first year as a 49er, she broke the program's all-time single-season digs record of 571, posting 617 on the year. Then the next year, she did it again, recording 681 digs and was named C-USA's Libero of the Year for a second-straight year. Her 681 digs became the fourth-most in a single C-USA season, but this year, it is her goal to break that record that was set in four years, in just three.
How does she do it? She goes for just about everything.
Her family still resides in Brazil, but Garcia said her mom is the first person to know exactly how they did in their matches and celebrate her accomplishments. Garcia has only seen her family around eight times in the past eight years.
Garcia recalls crying every night for three months calling her mom, but her mom always encouraged her to keep pushing through. Now, she wouldn't take anything back, and said she learned the most in the toughest moments.
At times, she is able to take a step back and look at where she is now. She told NCAA.com that it is crazy to think about how she started in a small town in Brazil, and is now playing D1 volleyball and leading the country in digs per set.
Charlotte is 11-8 this season, but Garcia told NCAA.com that they are aiming for a ring, or at least the top five in their conference.
What's next? There are some more records to break, and again, Garcia is trying to break them in just three seasons at Charlotte. She wants to break the C-USA record for digs in a single season, and she also has her eyes on Charlotte's all-time career record for digs.