The MHS volleyball star will play for CSU Bakersfield
A ball of energy that oozes talent, Gabriella Cox has been a staple of Monache High School volleyball for the last three years.
An essential part of the Marauders (25-10, 10-0 EYL) winning back-to-back East Yosemite League titles with perfect records, the senior setter will have a new home court come next season after signing a National Letter of Intent Thursday to play for California State University, Bakersfield.
”It’s just such a relief,” Cox said. “The recruiting process was so nerve-wracking and stressful. And the fact that I’m finally over with it and able to say that I’m committed is so amazing.”
For Cox, being able to play close to home with the NCAA Division I Roadrunners, who play in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), was very important.
“Being close to home was one of the things I was hoping for when I thought about where I wanted to play next,” she said. “Being able to live literally an hour away from home and be able to go home whenever I want is just a weight off my shoulders because I have my family so close to me.”
Another reason Cox chose CSUB was because the atmosphere was “amazing”.
“When I went on my visit there, just the atmosphere of the whole — the campus, the girls, the coaches — it was so amazing,” she said. “Their program is incredible and I couldn’t see myself anywhere else.”
Cox, who was joined by her family, kept things lowkey for her signing on the high school campus. One person that was of course in attendance was MHS head volleyball coach, Rosalia Quinones.
“I am so overwhelmingly happy and excited for her,” Quinones said. “It is a coach's dream to see a former player playing the game at the next level.”
Quinones added, “The last three years have been so much fun with Gabby, she brought so much excitement and knowledge to the team. Her confidence and competitiveness was contagious. We are all going to miss Gabby dearly.”
Last season Cox was selected the Recorder’s 2018 Orange Belt Volleyball Player of the Year and finished with the Valley’s third-most assists (921). Cox had the same number of assists this season but this time she finished second in the Valley and 20th in the state.
A three-year varsity player, Cox was also key to the Marauders’ three straight CIF Central Section Division II playoff appearances.
“Honestly I wouldn’t have played anywhere else,” Cox said. “My coaches, my friends and teammates, we’ve become just a big family. It was great.”
It’s not decided if she’ll continue on as a setter or become a defensive specialist for the Roadrunners, but her versatility makes her an asset wherever she plays. In club volleyball she’s played libero for the last two years. With the Marauders this year, she was third on the team in blocks (47), third in aces (44) and fifth in kills (88).
“Gabby will be amazing at the college level,” Quinones said. “She is well equipped to compete with those girls. She will be a great asset to the team because she is well rounded and can play any position.”
Cox expects the college level to be more difficult but it’s something she’s prepared to take on.
“I know it’s going to be a lot faster pace than it is now,” she said. “But I think it’s going to be fun ... more challenging. I’m ready for a challenge.”