VINCENNES, Ind. – The two-time defending Region 24 champion Vincennes University Trailblazers volleyball team made another big splash this week with the signing of six-foot one middle blocker Isadora Dias de Melo from Brazil.
Dias de Melo comes to Vincennes University from the same high school in Brazil as Trailblazer alum Jaddy Duarte (Brasilia, Brazil), who played at Vincennes University in 2019 before transferring to Peru State College in Nebraska.
Duarte was a Heartland of America All-Conference Honorable mention at Peru State, as well as being an First-Team Academic All-American at VU and graduating Summa Cum Laude from Peru State.
“I definitely want to mention Jaddy Duarte,” VUVB Head Coach Gary Sien said. “She had a big part in helping us get Isadora signed because they both went to the same high school and played for the same high school coach. It also just happened to be great timing because Jaddy was back in the Vincennes area for a little bit.”
“Then we communicated with Isadora,” Sien added. “She is definitely a high-level player with all the recognition that she has received in Brazil and after looking at her game film, I’m really not surprised. She’s a player with good size and is almost a typical high-level or next level international player. Because of the limited number of substitutions, they have to play all the way around, so you have someone who is long that can play all three front row positions and can also play back row.”
“Depending on where we play her next year, she can hit out of the back row pretty well,” Sien said. “She’s a player that we can pretty much plug in almost every position out there, besides setter or libero.”
“I am very grateful for what Gary is doing with the girls from our VU volleyball family,” Duarte said. “I want all the international girls that are reading this to not think twice when they have the opportunity of coming to study in the US because it will change your life, just like it has changed mine.”
Dias de Melo finished a very accomplished high school career in Brazil at Nolide Ramalho EDHC in Natal, Rio Grande de Norte, where she was named the Most Valuable Player of the Super Indoor Volleyball league and the Northeast Volleyball Cup in 2022.
Isadora was also twice named the Best Blocker in the Campeonato de Amizade (Amizade Championship) and named the best Right Side Hitter of the Metropolitan Volleyball Championship in 2022.
Dias de Melo twice led her team to a first-place finish in the Northeast Volleyball Cup in 2021 and 2022, won the 2022 Brazilian Division I Team Championship and the Women’s Volleyball Challenge Cup in 2022.
“Any year, it goes without saying, our number one priority is ball control,” Sien said. “If we pass consistently, it’s hard to stop us. That’s what is going to separate us from any other team is ball control. Secondly would be our setting, which we did graduate two very good, high-level setters from last year’s team in Hannah Graber (Montgomery, Ind.) and Josephine Mulligan (Saint John, Ind.). The good thing is that we will still have one setter back from last year in Maecy Johnson (Chrisman, Ill.) and we have added two new setters coming in next year.”
“Our setting might take a little bit of time because of the new players coming in,” Sien added. “But in general, our hitting offensively is the part that I am the least concerned about. It seems like we have always had good offense. With the players we have coming back, plus the new players we are bringing in, that should not be an issue heading into next season. But to me, hitting is a small percentage of the game. The passing and the setting is a majority of the game.”
“Losing two really good setters like we have is going to take some time to recover from,” Sien said. “Next year might be similar to how we were last year. Last year we had all new middles and it took us a little while to get going. We didn’t really start getting our offense going until around mid-September last year. Hopefully it won’t take that long this season, but I would not be surprised if it does just because of the transition to new setters.”
“But, as long as we are playing our best by the beginning of October, that’s my goal,” Sien added. “I never expect us to be at that level from the beginning. August and early in September, we are usually still just trying to figure it out. But once it hits October, that’s when we should really be at the top of our game. I thought last year around the time we went to Wallace State was when we really started to gel and play at a really high level.”
“Isadora has always been very hardworking, committed to her team and training and above all, very responsible and focused on her goals,” Isadora’s High School Coach Francileide Custodio da Costa said. “She is a very skilled player, with high performance in all her fundamentals on the court and also an easy-going person who has always maintained a good relationship with all her teammates. I hope she will do an awesome job this season at VU, like she used to here.”
Isadora is the daughter of Afonso Luiz Dias de Melo and Fabiola Batista de Melo Dias and plans to major in kinesiology at Vincennes University.
The Vincennes University Athletic Department is excited to welcome Isadora Dias de Melo to the 2023 recruiting class.