B1G changes are underway for the Maryland volleyball program. With a new coaching staff and a challenging schedule on the horizon, the Terps are poised to take the program to new heights as it transitions into the Big Ten Conference. Follow along with our weekly installment of the Maryland Volleyball Summer Series as we take an inside look at the program leading up to first serve on August 29 against Elon.
Setting the Table with
To say volleyball is deeply ingrained in the blood of Carlotta Oggioni would be an understatement. The daughter of Italian professional volleyball players and the niece of a Brazilian champion sand volleyball player, Oggioni was destined for a life of volleyball.
Oggioni elected to take a slightly different path, however.
Spurred by the opportunity to play volleyball while furthing her education, Oggioni chose to leave her friends and family behind in Rome, Italy, and attend college in the United States.
“I wanted to expand my background and the fact that I could combine school and volleyball was a great thing,” Oggioni said. “My dream has always been to play volleyball, but if you get hurt one day and you didn’t go to college then your options might be limited. Here I have the opportunity to do both and Maryland’s academic program is great.”
With little knowledge of the English language, Oggioni packed her bags and began her journey to America. The 5-10 sophomore setter did not begin her collegiate career at Maryland, however, as she attended Oregon State as a freshman in 2013.
“Honestly at the beginning I was tempted to go back to Italy because I didn’t think I could do it,” Oggioni said. “I didn’t think it would be that hard, but the language was a big deal because I couldn’t speak any English or understand the language.”
Deterred by a lack of playing time with the Beavers, Oggioni decided to transfer for her sophomore season and quickly set her sights on the University of Maryland.
“I wanted the opportunity to be able to play and show people what I could do,” Oggioni said. “Maryland moving to the Big Ten is a big deal and I really liked the girls on the team and the coaching staff.”
She also enjoyed witnessing the fabled “Flash Mob” on her official visit when the Terrapin men’s basketball team played No. 4 Syracuse in front of a sold out XFINITY Center crowd. (check out the video below)
“The basketball game I went to was crazy and it showed how great Maryland fans are,” Oggioni said. “I really enjoyed that game and Coach Aird made me feel right at home.”
Despite arriving in College Park just three weeks ago, Oggioni has quickly settled in at Maryland. With a remarkable grasp of the English language and a better understanding of American culture – even referring to herself as the quarterback of the team – she is excited to bring her experiences from playing in Italy and the Pac-12 Conference to the Maryland lineup.
“I started playing volleyball at five years old, so I feel like I have a lot to add to the team,” Oggioni said. “I think I’ll bring my skills and experience because I have played internationally. As the setter I have to be a leader and I feel like I can lead the team to good results.”
Thrilled with the prospect of playing in the Big Ten Conference, Oggioni is happy to usher in a new era of volleyball at Maryland.
“We are going to play the best teams in the country so it’s going to be tough for sure, but the girls are amazing and everybody is pushing and that’s really important,” Oggioni said.
Oggioni has managed just one trip to the nation’s capital since her arrival in College Park, but she looks forward to taking her family around Washington D.C. when her family arrives for a two-week visit next week.
As for the academic side of the coin, Oggioni plans to major in business marketing with a minor in Chinese before traveling the world after graduation.
For now, Oggioni’s worldwide adventure has just begun.
Here's the Flash Mob Oggioni saw on her official visit: