Cougars a good fit for Lino

Sunday, October 12, 2008 | 2:31 p.m. CDT; updated 11:09 p.m. CDT, Sunday, October 12, 2008
Flavia Lino, junior volleyball player at Columbia College, bumps the ball back toward the net during the Cougars’ game Friday against Missouri Baptist University. Born in Brazil, Lino transferred from the University of Kansas.

COLUMBIA — Columbia College's Flavia Lino had enough.

A disputed in-the-net call delayed Friday night's game between Columbia College and Missouri Baptist University for several minutes after a point had been awarded to the Cougars, much to the dismay of Spartans' coach John Yehling, who was arguing the referee's interpretation of the rule. As the Columbia crowd began to stomp and clap to express its impatience, the Missouri Baptist coaching staff continued to dispute the call.

Standing right at the net, Lino's patience had worn out. Shaking her head after Yehling had explained his interpretation of the rule, Lino made her opinion clear.

"No, no," Lino said, shaking her finger at the Spartans' coaches across the net. "Hey, let's go. Sit down."

Lino is comfortable at Columbia College. And it shows.

Through 76 games this season, Lino leads the Cougars with 327 kills and is ranked 7th in NAIA Division I with 4.3 kills per game.

A 6-1 junior from Sao Paulo, Brazil, Lino played her freshman year at Universidade Paulista in Brazil and her second year at the University of Kansas.

Lino said she liked playing within the structure of the volleyball program at Kansas, a big school meant high-quality training, top coaches and nice facilities.

But Lino wasn't happy with the Jayhawks.

"The girls weren't friendly like they are here," said Lino, with the help of student assistant Daniela Brazolino as an interpreter. "They were really individual, they just think about their own. Here it's more of a team."

Another issue Lino had at Kansas was lack of personal attention in class. Large lectures and other packed classes meant it was difficult for Lino, who was in her first year in the U.S., to keep up.

Wanting out of Kansas, Lino had options available to her on where to transfer. Kansas coach Ray Bechard helped by contacting Cougars' coach Melinda Wrye-Washington about Lino. Lino said she decided on Columbia College in part because of the other Brazilian girls on the team (the Cougars have six players from Brazil on their roster, not including assistant coach Juliana Quadrado) and because of the small college atmosphere, where she would receive more individual help in classes.

Joining the Cougars, Lino said she doesn't see much difference in the level of play between schools.

"The only difference is Columbia College is a small college," Lino said, "but we are on a high level of volleyball."

Wrye-Washington agrees.

"The only difference would be some of our conference schools are really weak," Wrye-Washington said.

"The conference was some good teams, some bad," Lino responded. "Just like here."

Playing in 75 games last season for the Jayhawks and tallying 134 kills, Lino has seen more success, and satisfaction, as a Cougar this season.

"At a smaller college I have more chance to play and meet the girls, and really make a difference," Lino said. "I'm really happy here."

Lino and the Cougars next play at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Fulton against William Woods University.



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