Mirta Baselovic had more than the NCAA tournament on her mind last week.
Adding to the preparation needed to win in the postseason, the junior middle blocker took her GRE. She said it’s hard to balance school and athletics, especially at this point in
“I’ve had three seasons somehow of just managing school and exams,” Baselovic said. “And not being in classes a lot and volleyball and everything that goes with it. … It was an extra thing I had to take some time and stay up later. I would travel and bring my big book with GRE examples.”
Education has always been important to Baselovic. She came to Texas in 2014 after head coach Jerritt Elliott had recruited her during one of his frequent recruiting visits to Croatia.
“I recruited a player by the name of Mira Topic my first year here to turn the program around,” Elliott said. “Mirta [Baselovic] ended up playing for the same club as Mira [Topic], so I flew over there and watched her play a couple of times.”
Elliott’s experience in Croatia was eye-opening. He said Baselovic played in a gym without a heater, and it was 38 degrees Fahrenheit when he visited her.
Baselovic had limited options in Croatia: play professional volleyball or go to college. Elliott offered her the opportunity to do both.
“I think it’s one of those situations that makes coaching special.” Elliott said. “Croatia is my favorite country, but in terms of [economics] it’s not the strongest-growing country in the world. And so by her coming here I think it’s opened her eyes to what some different opportunities she can have for herself and for her future family, and she’s always been
The 6-foot-3-inch middle blocker now majors in corporate communications with a Business Foundations certificate. She said she’s fortunate to go to school in America since it’s difficult to get a job in Croatia.
Baselovic has traveled the world with the Croatian national team. She lists Hawaii and Turkey as her favorite past destinations but considers Texas another home.
“Mirta is not a U.S. citizen, but she likes to think she is at times,” senior setter Chloe Collins said. “She finds great joy in making comments about our political debates, especially with the presidential election going on. And the way her personality is, she’s a very stubborn and straight-forward person, so I think she would be a great politician.”
Baselovic’s global experience with volleyball has sparked an interest in graduate school for international business or global studies. With her graduate degree, Baselovic hopes to return to Croatia to improve the economy and increase opportunities for college students.
“I feel like it would be way better for younger people if some things could change,” Baselovic said. “So, if I could go back home and use what I’ve learned here to make it better for younger kids who might want to stay at home and not travel 6,000 miles to get education, then yeah, that would be my goal.”