Rusk's Julianna Mendoza to take volleyball skills to Arlington Baptist University

Apr. 16—Julianna Mendoza of Rusk High School said that she had always dreamed of one day being able to play collegiate volleyball.

That dream came into fruition Monday afternoon when Mendoza signed with Arlington Baptist University during a ceremony that took place before a large crowd of well wishers at Eagle Coliseum.

"I am super excited about this brand new chapter and being able to continue doing the sport I love," Mendoza said. "I didn't think I would get to play in college, so to have this opportunity, I am thankful, and excited.

"I actually got to meet a couple of my teammates earlier last month, and immediately when I walked into the gym, it kind of felt like a family and that is hard to come by, so I knew that was the place for me."

ABU is a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association. The Lady Patriots finished with a 20-5 record last season.

Mendoza, who is projected to play as a defensive specialist at ABU, transferred to Rusk from Kingwood prior to the start of her senior season.

She amassed 243 kills, 136 digs, 47 blocks, 28 aces and 14 assists and went on to earn a spot on the all-district team (first team).

Following the conclusion of the season, Mendoza was selected to play in the 936 All-Star game.

Rusk head volleyball coach Corinna Ford said that in addition to Mendoza's physical talents, she also brings some solid volleyball intangibles to the table.

"Jules (Mendoza) is not only a very talented volleyball player, but she has a high volleyball I.Q. and is a leader on the court," Ford said.

Mendoza brings an incredible upside to the ABU program in that she 100-percent wants to be a Lady Patriot.

Ford's favorite remembrance of Mendoza illustrated the point.

Knowing that Mendoza wanted to major in nursing, a program that ABU doesn't offer, Ford and Mendoza had a discussion about the various options that were available to her, as they drove back to Rusk from the Metroplex, following Mendoza's campus visit last month. At the end of the conversation, Mendoza had decided to follow her heart and to play volleyball at ABU and to put nursing on the back burner for a little while; figuring this is her one chance to play college volleyball.

Mendoza, who played travel volleyball for the Renegades Volleyball Club out of Tomball, is the daughter of Carmen and Paul Mendoza.