From Colonial walk-on to GW record-holder

Junior libero Candace Silva-Martin refuses to settle for mediocrity.

Every time she throws on her game jersey, a different color than the rest of her teammates’ because of her position, Silva-Martin enters the court and leaves the possibility of failure behind.

As a walk-on freshman, Silva-Martin appeared in every set and was named to the A-10 All-Rookie Team.

Silva-Martin doesn’t like to look at statistics, but if she did, she would see that she’s put together impressive numbers over her three years at GW, breaking multiple records, including GW’s all-time digs record.

“To me, a record is a number, and it doesn’t reflect a lot of the different things that happen,” Silva-Martin said. “I try not to look at stats too much. There are so many other aspects that go into the game that you can’t see in them.”

Being a libero is certainly not just a one-dimensional position. Head coach Amanda Ault said the libero is a key piece on the court.

Taking care of the first ball, covering a large share of the court and facilitating passing are just some of the libero’s dynamic responsibilities. Silva-Martin, who was an outside hitter up until her sophomore year of high school, said the transition to libero was huge.

“When you are a libero, you have to have two mind-sets. There’s the defensive mind-set that is going all out, going crazy, going after every ball and basically just not thinking. And then to passing, which is a completely different mind-set, you have to be calm, relaxed, but also very focused on the ball,” Silva-Martin said.

Silva-Martin said she is still looking for that perfect balance between stances. Her desire to improve is something Ault believes to be one of Silva-Martin’s best leadership qualities.

“Candi is always looking to grow, not only as a player, but to build the program as well. She’s all in with promoting and doing whatever needs to be done to take the program to the next level,” Ault said.

Appearing in every match and playing at a high level, Silva-Martin cemented herself as a starter and surpassed the GW single-season record for digs, putting up 608 and averaging over five per match.

“I knew I wanted to be the starting libero and I would work as hard as I could to get it. When I was playing I didn’t really think anything I was doing was that great, but when I looked back on the season I realized I did do some pretty decent things,” Silva-Martin said.

Two years later, Silva-Martin is an even stronger force for the Colonials – racking up over 300 digs over play this season – and still has at least eight matches to go. In GW’s last two matches against A-10 rivals Fordham and Rhode Island, Silva-Martin led all players in digs, compiling a total of 48 digs that weekend.

Silva-Martin is excited to continue play this season. She believes that her team has the capability to do anything, and knows that her role as a leader will be crucial, as pressure builds during the final stretch of matches.

“As a captain, if I show that I’m willing to do as much as I can to reach a goal, then my teammates will start following that. And then together we can try to reach our goal to get to A-10’s,” said Silva-Martin. “That’s our ultimate goal. That’s what we should all want.”

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