Goddard High School senior middle blocker Sophia Valdez signed to play volleyball for the Eastern New Mexico University Greyhounds in Portales on Friday at the Goddard High School Gym.
Valdez said she will be pursuing a biology major and plans to become an orthodontist. She was impressed by the biology department and said they would help her transfer to a larger school to meet her goals.
“I’m so excited to be moving on to the next level,” Valdez said. “I want to give a big shout-out to the coach Eastern coach, coach Poyer, for the opportunity to play there. The girls are super sweet, I like the coach, and Eastern is close to home so my parents can come to watch my games.”
Sophia’s parents, Gilbert and Angie Valdez, were glad that their daughter picked a college that is close to home and excited to keep seeing her play for the Greyhounds.
“We’re very excited. We’ll be able to watch her home games, so that’s a perk” Angie Valdez said.
Gilbert Valdez said that seeing her daughter officially accept ENMU’s offer was a bittersweet moment.
“Angie was very involved and very much a team mom,” Gilbert Valdez said. “We were a team family. It was like mini-vacations when we watch her play and support her. Now we’re going to be bored.”
During her signing ceremony, Valdez was accompanied by friends, family, coaches and administrators. Valdez’s high school coaches, Dwayne Roberts and Hannah Manemann, expressed their pride. Both coaches had been with her since freshman year.
“I’m just a guide,” Roberts said. “She put in the work. She has put in the blood, sweat and tears, not only to get to the state championship, but to go on and play at a four-year school. It couldn’t happen to a better kid.”
Coach Manemann said she was glad to have Valdez’s enthusiasm in the volleyball program.
“One thing about Sophia is that no matter what, she always has a smile on her face,” Manemann said. “College is a different tempo, you’re getting paid to play and if not, there are five other girls behind you. I felt like she has confidence in herself no matter the situation, continues to smile and loves the game. College is harder but I think she’s as capable as any other kid.”
Valdez’s friend and teammate Alia Gray attended Sophia’s signing and said she hopes to stay friends with Valdez despite the distance between them. Gray will be heading to Fort Lewis College in Colorado to pursue nursing.
“I’m really proud to be Sophie’s friend and I’m super proud of her,” Gray said. “She’s done a lot for the team and she’s just an amazing friend overall. I hope we keep that friendship and I can’t wait. I’ll make that six-hour drive to see a game.”
Sports reporter Blynn Juliano Beltran can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or email@example.com.
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