Growing up in big family helped Gophers' Filho prepare for volleyball

  • Article by: MICHAEL RAND , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 14, 2011 - 1:01 AM

A family of 10 children prepared Ariana Filho well for the chaos of the volleyball court.

hide

Ariana Filho plays a position — middle blocker — that’s in the middle of everything but at the center of nothing.

Laura Bush, the interim head volleyball coach for the Gophers, described one of middle blocker Ariana Filho's greatest on-court attributes thusly: "She's able to filter through the chaos and get right to the point."

As critical as that is in the fast-paced sport of volleyball, that ability has also served Filho well off the court.

She's the second-youngest of 10 kids in her family -- six of whom were adopted -- and being able to thrive in that setting means living in a constantly hectic state.

Coming from Colorado, she almost wound up at Wisconsin. But the confusing world of recruiting became crystal clear as soon as she made her final visit -- one she almost passed up -- to Minnesota.

And this offseason, after longtime head coach Mike Hebert retired, Filho again sifted through mixed emotions before arriving at a simple conclusion: her senior year might not play out exactly how she envisioned it, but she owed it to herself to define the parts she could control.

"There was this battle going on for me, wondering if it was going to be worth going through all the changes," Filho said, referring to the new coaching staff and evolving on-court personnel. "But even if everything changed, it was my last year. I didn't want to waste this year. I wanted to go all out."

So far, so good for the No. 14-ranked Gophers, who play host to a pair of Big Ten matches this weekend -- including Saturday's showdown at Williams Arena with No. 5 Nebraska. Minnesota is 10-5, and Filho has a team-high 58 blocks and is second on the team with a .362 hitting percentage.

Filho has primarily been a middle blocker since getting her start in club volleyball -- after those running the allegedly closed team tryouts found out she was already 5-11 despite only being in eighth grade. Now 6-2, Filho relies on both height and quickness from years of competitive soccer. The nuances of playing middle blocker have also grown on her through the years.

"There is a lot of unrecognized fame," Filho said of the less-than-glamorous position. "At a younger age, it was harder. Where are my sets? Where are my stats? But as I've gotten older, I've realized how sweet it is. ... I feel like I'm sharing in the experience."

That's exactly the attitude the position demands, which again speaks to Filho's ability to filter through the chaos.

"If the setter is the brain and the outside hitters are the energy, the middle blocker is the heart," Bush said. "You can do everything right, and you might never see the ball."

  • related content

  • 10.14.11: The game plan

    Friday October 14, 2011

    10.14.11 THE GAME PLANTHE BUZZ Boise State might be a candidate to join the Big East for football, which makes...

  • What they might be doing today ...

    Friday October 14, 2011

    WHAT THEY MIGHT BE DOING TODAY ...Donovan McNabb might be hoping his car never breaks down, considering how much he...

  • GOPHERS VOLLEYBALL

    The No. 14 Gophers play host to Iowa on Friday, but the big showdown is with No. 5 Nebraska on Saturday. Both matches are at 7 p.m.; Friday's match is at the Sports Pavilion and Saturday's is at Williams Arena.

    • This is Nebraska's first trip to Minnesota for volleyball as a member of the Big Ten. Saturday's match is part of a "Battle in the Barn" promotion, and general admission tickets are $1. Minnesota ranks third nationally in average attendance at nearly 4,000 fans per game.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:07 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Carolina 6:00 PM
Columbus
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Detroit
Montreal 7:30 PM
Chicago
Arizona 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pm30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 am
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Gophers do against Michigan?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close