Two months from now, Samantha Bricio ’16 will execute her killer hybrid jump float serve in an arena ringing with the cheers of avid volleyball fans. Nothing unusual in that—except they’ll be cheering in Italian.
After playing four years of varsity volleyball at USC, she may feel a twinge of déjà vu. But this time, Bricio, who graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, will be ready for the culture shock.
When she was first recruited to USC from Guadalajara, Mexico, in 2012, Bricio admits she had no idea what she was getting herself into. “I thought it was going to be easy going to another country by myself,” she chuckles. Thanks to a steady diet of American television, she already knew some English. “But once I got here, it hit me that it was going to be really hard.”
Famously unemotional on the volleyball court, Bricio kept her cool even as the Galen Center crowd went wild over her aces. “I was really shy,” she explains. In time, that changed, and Bricio closed out her last season as team captain. As the accolades piled up, fans saw her laughing and fist-pumping. “I would celebrate not just because my team did really well, but because the team chemistry was amazing.”
Now a poised young woman of 21, Bricio has her future mapped out. She’ll play pro volleyball in Europe for a couple of years, then return to USC for a master’s degree in criminal psychology en route to her ultimate career goal: becoming an FBI profiler.
Asked if she’s excited about graduating college, Bricio hesitates. “USC has been such a great experience that I don’t want to leave,” she confesses. She hates saying goodbye to all her teammates. “I don’t think I’ll find friendships like that anywhere else.”
She hopes to see them again soon on the pro circuit, Alicia Ogoms ’16 in particular. The Canadian middle blocker, who also plans to go pro, was Bricio’s roommate for all four years at USC—the last two in a themed women’s volleyball house on 29th Street.
“It’s really fun when you see a friend on the other side of the court,” Bricio says. “You smile. You want to play harder. You just want to show her that you’re better.”