As Valpo's libero nears record, her thoughts are with military husband
Originally Published: September 10, 2008By Dave Reed | Special to ESPN.com
College athletes have to deal with all kinds of distractions.Long road trips, nagging injuries and academic responsibilities are just a few of the things that severely test an athlete's ability to focus. But for Brittany Malicoat, a senior libero on the Valparaiso University volleyball team, those are the least of her concerns. While she concentrates on playing volleyball and pursues a double major in art history and public relations, her husband is stationed in Iraq with the United States Marine Corps.
"Worrying all the time is not going to make me play better," Brittany said. "I just need to focus on where I'm at and make the best of it." Deployed just over a month ago for his second overseas tour, Sgt. Bobby Malicoat is a shop leader in an ordnance unit. In other words, his specialty is the maintenance and disposal of weapons and munitions. Or as Brittany said, he makes bombs. Fortunately for the young couple, the lines of communication are vastly better than when he was stationed on a ship in the Mediterranean in 2007. "We usually talk once a day," Brittany said. "We use a webcam, so when he's getting a good connection, we can actually see each other. When he was deployed in the Mediterranean, it was horrible because the Internet went in and out all the time. The phones and the reception were bad, so sometimes I'd go a month without talking to him. This has been great so far." The high school sweethearts from Elkhart, Ind., originally planned to get married after Brittany graduated from Valparaiso and Bobby completed his military obligation. But they decided to move the date up when they found out Bobby would be deployed in January 2007. "We had to move the date up," Brittany said. "I wasn't going to live with him in North Carolina before we were married. The only way we could do it was to get married on my Christmas break. We knew we were going to get married. It was just a matter of when. We just decided to go for it." Obviously, the decision to get married just after her sophomore season did not have a negative impact on her athletic career. Last year as a junior, she set a school record with 740 digs and was named Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year. "If any other person had come to me and said she was thinking about getting married as a sophomore, I would not have been too sure about that," head coach Carin Avery said. "But Brittany has always been a very mature person and if anyone was ready for that, it was her." One of the benefits of being married to a Marine is physical training. Bobby's home base is Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina, and he often took Brittany on the base's running courses. They also played volleyball on the beaches of Pamlico Sound and the Outer Banks.
Ray AcevedoBrittany Malicoat needs 96 digs to break Valparaiso's record.
"He always pushes me to do my best in everything I do. He's my inspiration to push through and achieve things I didn't think were possible."
-- Brittany Malicoat, on her husband, Sgt. Bobby Malicoat
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