Cavalier Corner

October 2015

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cavalier profile KARLIE SUBER Third-Year • Volleyball In women's volleyball, a defensive specialist is a player who comes off the bench and almost always replaces a front- line player when that player rotates to the back row. A defensive specialist makes her mark by digging out drives and smashes, setting up teammates and returning serves. It's not a glamour position. Defensive specialists are accustomed to floor burns. But that's okay with Karlie Suber, who is passionate about helping other people and trying to make life easier for people who don't have the advantages she's experienced in life. "I think the character of the DS is service," she said. "It takes a special kind of person to give up the spotlight. Lexi [Ric- colo] and I used to be on the front line in high school, but I think it does take a different person to give up that role in college for the good of the team." Growing up in Mechanicsville, Va., northeast of Richmond, Suber said her service heart comes from her father. "My dad was always helping our high school [Atlee] years before my sister and I got there," she recalled. "He completely turned our high school around, helping get equipment for the students. He volunteers at non-profits and just about any fundraiser in Richmond you can probably find my dad helping out." Suber has helped organize volleyball fundraisers for the Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU and volleyball coach- ing clinics for schools without the resources of schools in more affluent areas. But her most important work may be with her childhood friend Cole Sydnor. In the summer of 2011 Sydnor injured his neck in a diving accident on the James River and was paralyzed from the chest down. They went to elementary school together, but the friendship blossomed in high school. "We were in the same fourth grade class and we were friends, but we got really close in high school," Suber said. "Cole is one of my best friends and being friends with him has made me a completely different person," she added. "He's helped me understand how life is precious and not to take it for granted because it can change so quickly. "Helping him out, working with him, encouraging him is one of the greatest things I could ever do." — Greg Waters ◆ Photo by Matt Riley/courtesy UVa

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