From Belgrade to Lee's Bell Towers
Silvia Satori has traveled from Serbia to Mississippi to Tennessee, in the span of two years, and the journey has come with some wins and some losses.
Satori, a student from Belgrade, Serbia lost her father the summer before she came back to America to win Freshman of the Year in the women’s volleyball Gulf South Conference (GSC) in 2015.
“It was hard,” Satori said, wiping a tear from her cheek, “but I feel like it made me a lot stronger.”
When Satori lost her father, her only family in America was living in Mississippi, and her mother was back in Serbia. She was alone. But her support system at Lee made the pain a little easier to cope with.
After an emergency trip to Serbia, paid for by head coach, Andrea Hudson, Satori reached out to her team for support. They tried their best to hold her up, but she brought herself down. She let her emotions out on the court, making her more aggressive than normal. She focused on her mistakes and self negativity. In her own head, Satori lived and played in a dark world, despite efforts from her team to bring her into the light.
“It was an emotional battle for her,” close friend and teammate Brooke Wilsman said.
Dedicating the season to her father, Satori put immense pressure on herself to perform, and fight.
“I didn’t want that to be an excuse for me not to perform well on the court or in school,” Satori said.
Satori started playing volleyball when she was six years old and quickly elevated herself through the age groups, after her mother convinced the coach to let Satori play with the older girls. Satori said this helped her evolve quicker, and by age 15 she was playing with girls who were 20 plus years old.
She came to America in 2013. Attending New Hope High School in Columbus, Mississippi her senior year, she was scouted by Coach Hudson.
“Serbian volleyball is a very high level of volleyball, so she was kind of their star player,” Coach Hudson said.
Satori is the only one on the team who plays all six positions, never subbing out. She also hasn’t made less than an “A” minus in any of her classes.
While Satori described herself as not being very aggressive, her teammates and coach described her as being relentless on the court, intense and powerful. However, a sweetheart off of it. She is selfless, a “pillar of the team” and loves to sing, according to senior, Cat Conley. Though Conley said Satori is a “terrible” singer, she also said the whole team knows she’s going to get a kill every time she goes up for one.
“She carries a big burden of responsibility on the team,” Coach Hudson said.
Satori said, through hard work of developing positive thoughts, she has been able to overcome her negativity. She gets excited about kills and focuses on that. She said being able to think more positively has helped her improve her game.
Satori said she is glad she came to America, and plans to get a job here after she graduates with a business finance degree.
“This is the place I want to be,” Satori said.