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Valencia brings the energy to the team

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A local girl from San Elizario, Texas, senior defensive specialist Victoria Valencia is set to give her all in the final season of her collegiate career.

Valencia just received All-Tournament Honors over the weekend at the UTEP invitational volleyball tournament, in which the Miners swept Texas Southern University, 3-0.

Now in her senior year, Valencia remembers transitioning from high-school divisional play in San Elizario, to becoming a key contributor on the volleyball court.

“When I got here to UTEP, the game was a lot harder, a lot quicker, so the transition was a wake-up call for me to work harder, especially with the pace of the game,” Valencia said. “With time and effort, I was able to adjust and I try to bring lot of energy to the team, positivity.”

While playing in San Elizario, Valencia received the El Paso Times’ All-City First Team three times. She was named to the 4A All-District Team in 2009 and led San Elizario High School to a district championship in 2007 and 2008.

Valencia was ranked nationally as 7,220 and 631st in Texas, while maintaining a hitting percentage of .484 and averaging 112 sets played as a starter.

Valencia contributed to the team by defensively helping to secure five digs in the 3-0 victory over Texas Southern on Sept. 14. She leads the team in digs and served aces.

Head coach Holly Watts said Valencia also helps contribute to the team in other ways, beginning with her attitude.

“She helps to bring a lot of energy to the team,” Watts said. “She brings a lot of chemistry because she works well with everyone and is very consistent and acts as a good leader.

Senior middle blocker Xitiali Herrera describes Valencia as a motivator.

“It’s fun playing with her,” Herrera said. “She is a good teammate and does a good job in pushing everyone by always having a lot of energy on the court and making sure we all give 100 percent.”

Continuing to play the sport that she began at the age of 9, Valencia credits her success thus far to great family support, the ability to adapt and working hard.

“My family are the ones that dragged me into the sport,” Valencia said. “There are four of us and all of us played sports, so we all went to each other’s games and supported each other–I grew up with that family support.”

Looking back on her career at UTEP, Valencia said she is thankful to have been a part of the team and remembers her most memorable moment as a Miner.

“My favorite moment as a Miner for sure was when we beat Tulsa in five games and the feeling of playing in Hawaii this past month–the atmosphere and having every seat filled was just a great feeling,” Valencia said.

Valencia is optimistic about what the Miners will be able to accomplish this season, but she also has plans for life after UTEP. She is currently planning on graduating in May 2014 with a degree in physical therapy. She then plans to continue her education.

“This semester, I am applying for some physical therapy schools,” Valencia said. “I am applying to four schools and I find out in the spring semester if I am accepted to either one of them. So if and when I get accepted, I look forward to pursuing my degree.”

Ellisia Shafer may be reached at [email protected].

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Valencia brings the energy to the team