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Sidney Bills signs to continue her career

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Goddard graduate Sidney Bills signs to play college volleyball at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Colorado this fall. Back row, from left, Heidi Bills, mother; Derek Bills, father; Sabastian Bills, brother; Dewayne Roberts, coach; Carli Hansell, coach; Hannah Manemann, coach; and Hayden Hill, coach. (Shawn Naranjo Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

By Zac Alfers
Special to RDR Sports

During the moment when it became real, Sidney Bills was sitting at a desk in the Goddard High School gymnasium. It was during this quiet time while surrounded by family and friends that shared this day with her, that she took a moment to reflect. Four short years ago as an elementary student at Berrendo, Bills found herself sitting on the bench with no thoughts of playing college volleyball or this day. The light came on for Bills when she fell in love with the sport and dedicated everything she had to being the best player she could be.

Sidney Bills prepares to serve the ball during a match. (Daily Record File Photo)

In an introspective look at her past, it flashed to her future, as she signed a scholarship to continue her education and volleyball career at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Colorado. Bills will join a talented Plainswomen squad that finished with a 22-10 overall record in 2020 and has made the NJCAA Championship Tournament the past three seasons.

Bills is an extremely gifted middle hitter who should have an immediate impact for JVC next year. In 2020, Bills put up some impressive numbers, playing in 43 sets and registering 145 kills and 73 total blocks. She was rightfully rewarded for her efforts, earning all-district since her sophomore year. Her play was so stellar that she won District Most Valuable Player and was named an all-state her senior year.

“Sidney is a great kid,” Goddard head coach Dewayne Roberts said. “She is a very good volleyball player, she’s been a dominant force in the district for the past three years, and I expect her to continue to grow and develop more as a volleyball player at the next level.”

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Growing up, Bills tried her hand playing basketball, running track and playing golf. In sixth grade she tried volleyball — ultimately, it was her passion for the hardwood that stuck. It was a sport Bills naturally became captivated with as she fell in love with the little things surrounding the game. She enjoyed the thrill of competition, the camaraderie of being part of a team, and had a genuine desire to better understand the sport. Her willingness to push herself day-in and day-out is a key factor to why she was such a dominant high school athlete.

One of Bills’ most memorable games was when the Lady Rockets were forced to play Portales in a one-game playoff in Lovington. The team came up big to help them win the district title. Being a team player her favorite memories are when she was able to bond with her teammates on the bus rides and when they were in the hotel rooms at state. That alone helped the teams become more than teammates, but family. Those experiences formed a bond that will never be broken.

Bills credits Goddard coach Dewayne Roberts for seeing the potential in her and pushing her to be the best she could be. To prepare for her senior year, Bills worked on getting clear on her hits and her slides, and then her block form. Bills said she was a lot more confident during her senior year and felt like she could do more.

“Her ceiling is limitless,” Roberts said. “She wants to be the best all the time. The times that stand out are the times she would put the team on her back in clutch situations. She wanted the ball to be set to her.”

For the three-time all-district selection, there are no off-days. Bills understands there is a lot of work to be done before stepping onto the Northeastern campus this fall. She has dedicated this summer to becoming more consistent with her blocking and perfecting her technique.

Bills’ current offseason workout is very intense as she gets up at 5:30 a.m. every morning and begins her day with a CrossFit training program. In the afternoon, she goes to the gym to lift free weights in order to improve her overall strength, stamina, and jumping ability.

Four days a week she partakes in an open gym with her travel coach and assistant New Mexico Military Institute volleyball coach Camila Araujo de Melo. In these sessions, Bills works on volleyball-specific techniques like hitting, passing and blocking. She credits a lot of her volleyball knowledge to Araujo, who has been very influential in developing Bills’ current skill set.

Looking toward next season, Bills is excited to get to work and join her new teammates. She has not met any of them in person; however, they have daily interactions over text and social media outlets. She says she already feels remarkably close to the other players and the team’s openness was one of the main things that attracted her to the Northeastern program.

Being the diligent worker she is, Bills will have no problem carving out a role for herself with her new college team. Her short-term goal is to improve on her game each day in order to transfer to a four-year program following her junior college career. She plans on studying biology and pre-med to become a dermatologist upon graduation. Currently, she is keeping her options open and does not have a particular school in mind.

“I would tell all of the underclassmen at Goddard, “Bills said, “to work hard and they can do anything they put their minds to. To work on being a team and find the team connection together.”