American player Sarah Wilhite is expected to miss at least a month of her first professional season with UYBA (Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio) in Italy after being diagnosed with a second-degree ligament capsule injury.
Wilhite suffered the injury during a 3-1 win over Bergamo last week. UYBA, which plays in Serie A1 – the top flight of Italian volleyball – will now be without two of its offensive weapons: Wilhite and Valentina Diouf, who suffered an eye injury in practice last week and is awaiting the results of Friday tests by a specialist to see if there is any retina damage.
In their absence, the team will continue to rely on Vittoria Piani, who scored 19 points in her first substitution duty for Diouf last week.
UYBA now prepares for a match against Monza on the road. Monza is 2-2 this year, while UYBA sits 4th in the table at 3-1, so the contest becomes a pivotal one for Serie A placement.
“We are sorry for all the injuries to Valentina Diouf and Sarah Wilhite,” said teammate Alessia Gennari, “but we have to roll up our sleeves to keep up the level of training even without them, because this is the best way to get to play strong on Sunday. Monza is a good team, complete and with the right balance: we have to be careful of Serena Ortolani who is very fit, but not only her: Tori Dixon is a fantastic center that already has the understanding with the setter and the passes are all great level, so we will have a little bit to watch, but we want to do well as we did in the first games.”
A positive for UYBA: Alessia Orro has returned to training after injuring a finger on her right hand during a weight-lifting session. She didn’t suffer a fracture, but her coach still believes the team will be without her on Sunday.
Wilhite just completed her amateur career at the University of Minnesota last fall, where she was named the VolleyMob National Player of the Year. She then spent the summer touring with Team USA as a reserve at the FIVB World Grand Prix, though she wasn’t selected for the team that participated in the summer-ending World Grand Champions Cup.