From Hersey Hawkins in basketball to Logan Ketterer in soccer, the Bradley athletic program has a rich history of having its athletes going on to play professionally after they leave the Hilltop. One of the latest Braves to join the “Pros Club” is volleyball player Yavianliz Rosado.
Joining the Braves for her final two years from San Diego State, the libero made a significant impact on the court in her two years at Bradley. During her senior season, Rosado played a key role in the team’s 2018 season that ended in a bid to the National Invitational Volleyball Championship for the first time in school history.
In her short time in Peoria, she earned four Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Week awards, a first-team all-MVC pick and a MVC all-tournament team pick in 2018. On top of that, she ranks second all-time at Bradley for career digs with 1,402.
After graduating with a degree in political science last year, Rosado moved home to Puerto Rico. Upon arrival, she decided to try out for Pinkin de Corozal, a team in the Liga de Voleibol Superior Femenino of the Puerto Rican Volleyball Federation.
Even though she is originally from the island territory, she had to readjust to the differences in culture between the lower 48 states and the island, both on and off the court.
“The volleyball is not the same as the states, it’s more like scrappy volleyball,” Rosado said. “I got used to the states’ culture … I mean I was in the states for five years. Coming back to playing in Puerto Rico, that culture shock kind of hit me a little bit. It is what I was used to before college, so now I’m getting used to it again.”
At Bradley, the Braves have the space to set up drills on different courts, however, in Puerto Rico, practices look different for Rosado. In her professional career, she has begun practicing in more of a collective manner rather than individual improvement with head coach Carol Price-Torok’s program.
Despite the difference, Rosado doesn’t have a preference in the way that she trains now compared to how she did in college.
“It’s just two different approaches,” Rosado said. “I like both, I don’t really see the difference … it’s different in the way that it’s a different style of volleyball. I wouldn’t say one is better than the other.”
Another significant change she had to get used to was the lifestyle of team culture.
“We all have our lives completely different [from] each other,” Rosado said. “We just get together at night time to practice. In the states for example if we’re going to a game we all ride in the same bus, but here in Puerto Rico … it’s not like there’s a bus for the team. Everything is separate. Everyone is doing their own thing.”
While there are many aspects of college life she misses, bonding with teammates on bus rides, along with the other little moments, is what she misses the most about Bradley. Those experiences led up to the team’s NIVC run in 2018.
“I just miss college volleyball,” Rosado said. “When we qualified for the [NIVC in 2018] that was big for us, it was one of our goals and we achieved it. So that was a great experience.”
It was that experience she had at Bradley that she feels set her up for the independence required to be successful in Puerto Rico.
“It gave me the structure that I needed,” Rosado said. “Because of college, I know what I need, [I know] the workouts I can do … I know my body better. I learned different techniques that I can use now that I am a professional and I got to do most things on my own.”
Rosado said she finds herself having a hard time transitioning into adult life.
“Reality hit once I started playing,” Rosado said. “I found out that I got to take care of myself, that I got to work out on my own sometimes.”
Pinkin de Corozal started preparing for its 2020 campaign in January with tournaments starting in February. It managed to play half the season, but like other sports leagues, the impact of COVID-19 has put its season on hold.
“I like this first professional experience,” Rosado said. “It’s sad it got stopped for COVID-19 … but, everything is good so far, I’m liking it and I hope I can finish my first season, finish it strong.”