Petra Lorenzi's Winding Road from California to South Carolina
Nov. 4, 2008
Written by Trey Bloomer, South Carolina Media Relations student worker
Four years ago, Petra Lorenzi was all set to walk-on to her home-state Long Beach State volleyball team, but fate would intervene in the form of a scholarship offer to the University of South Carolina.
Petra Lorenzi is one of three senior players for the 2008 version of Gamecock volleyball. She has now moved into a defensive-specialist role and excels in helping the Gamecock offense put up impressive numbers.
Lorenzi, the Crescent City, Calif. native, was originally planning to play volleyball for the 49ers. She was going to walk on there since they had a full roster, but she was also being pursued by Oregon State to walk-on to their program. Nancy and Ben Somera led the Beavers' program at that time, and they knew Lorenzi through another player.
"My mom was heading the recruiting of a girl that was two years ahead of me, and my ninth and 10th grade year, I was traveling up to Oregon State a lot with her," Lorenzi said. "So that is where I got to know Nancy and Ben (Somera)."
When the Someras' took over at South Carolina, Lorenzi received a call shortly after and was offered a scholarship to play for the Gamecocks. The Someras' had an opening for a setter and asked Lorenzi to come for a visit. She came to Columbia, S.C., fell in love with the girls on the team and accepted the offer.
When Lorenzi stepped onto campus, she came into a veteran squad in which she wasn't asked to be a leader. However, by her junior year she was asked to take on a leadership role. The team had eight true freshmen and was one of the youngest teams in the conference.
"(Last) year, we had three juniors and no seniors on the team. So we were all asked to be seniors, and the sophomores to juniors. It was just hard with so many freshman on the team, but we did the best that we could," said Lorenzi.
The team would get off to a rough start in 2007 when SEC play started, but as the season went along the team would get stronger. Each game the Gamecocks left with their heads up and knew they were getting better. With all that youth, that meant that the 2008 team would return intact and poised for a breakout season.
"It has definitely helped having everyone return. The biggest thing we do not have to teach everyone how to play college volleyball. So definitely this season we all know what to expect, and how to play the game," Lorenzi said.
So with a veteran team, Lorenzi and the rest of players have their sights set on a bigger prize this season.
"We all want to go to the NCAA Tournament. That is our main goal this season. None of us on the team have seen it, and none of us have been to it. So for us three seniors, we want nothing more than to earn that berth," said Lorenzi.
Petra was not only a standout volleyball player, but she was also quite the softball player growing up as well. When she was 14, she faced 2008 U.S. Olympic Team pitcher Monica Abbott.
"She was very intimidating even then and is the reason I am scared of lanky pitchers to this day. In our last game of 14U softball, she hit two home runs and knocked us out of the playoffs. It was still a lot of fun, and something I try not to remember," said Lorenzi, laughing.
Before the season started, it was uncertain that Lorenzi would even play this season. She had torn her labrum, in her shoulder, and had to have surgery to correct it. It was thought that she would have to take a medical hardship this season to get healthy, but the senior healed much quicker than everyone thought and was able to get back to contribute this season.
Also this season has been a transition for Lorenzi who has taken on more of passer's role this season. She has helped out wherever her team has needed her. This senior has been the epitome of a "team player" and has shown she is willing to do whatever it takes to win.
As her final season is coming to an end, and as she looks ahead to the future without volleyball. She remembers what the university has done for her, and what experiences coming to South Carolina has offered her.
"I have received a great education, but even more than that it has been the life experiences that I have gotten," Lorenzi said. "I have gotten to travel all over the country, and I have seen things and experienced things that I would have never got to do had I not left California. I will always remember my times at South Carolina."