September 23, 2013 - 10:12am
Once too scared to speak to her teammates, Lithuanian-born Monika Salkute now embraces a new family and a new home on the Syracuse women's volleyball team.

Between sets and after games, the Syracuse women’s volleyball team gathers in a corner of the court. They are often laughing, smiling, or — if things aren’t going so well during the game — discussing game tactics with each other. Monika Salkute, the 6-foot-3-inch, pale, blonde Lithuanian, nods quickly at her teammates’ chatter and laughs loudly when they joke.

A year ago, she stood silent and alone in the corner, too afraid to speak.