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After being honored multiple times with “Athlete of the Week,” and “Sun Conference Defender of the Week”, helping her team win the 2015 Sun Conference Regular Season title and making it to the 2015 Sun Conference Finals, were the highlights that stood out to this libero.

Thalia Mendez grew up in Orlando, Fla. where she first started playing various sports in fourth grade with her dad. She even labeled herself a “tomboy” at that age. But she began to find herself being drawn to one single game: volleyball.

“I love playing volleyball,” said Mendez. “I have a passion for it.”

Starting out as a hitter, Mendez was recommended by her coach to transition full time to the libero position.

“I was fine with the change. Since the beginning I’ve loved going all out on the floor and digging things up,” said Mendez.

For those not too familiar with the libero position, the libero is responsible for passing the ball well so the team can run the offense. On defense, the libero needs to dig well, getting a hand on every ball they possibly can in order to keep the play alive.  Sometimes they can also be responsible for setting if the ball is dug by the setter or out of the setter’s range.

“Thalia has become the heartbeat of our defense. She’s smart, vocal and a competitor,” said Warner University Women’s Volleyball Head Coach Chrissy Moskovits.

“Her effort on the court brings a sense of confidence to our attackers/blockers – knowing she is there to get whatever comes her way. That kind of trust is imperative in our game.”

Transitioning from her breakout season, as well as the overall remarkable season for the Lady Royals last year, Thalia is already working to achieve her goals in her now junior year at Warner.

For the team goal, Thalia wants to win the conference title that was just out of reach last season. For an individual goal, she is going for the “Libero of the Year” award as she is nearing 1,000 digs in just three years.

As for how she got to Warner… Thalia has good friends.

“I went to the same high school and played in the same club as my Warner teammate and close friend, Adrienne Czaplewski,” said Mendez. “After she was recruited by Warner and played her freshman year here, she brought me to join the team.”

Czaplewski is more than pleased to continue playing alongside her friend.

“I have seen Thalia grow tremendously every year that I have known her on and off the court. On the court, she is the most aggressive and fearless player I have ever seen. Off the court, I have seen her mature into an amazing young woman and an incredible friend of mine,” said Czaplewski.

“No matter what she is doing, Thalia puts her whole heart into it.”

Be sure to catch Thalia at the next volleyball home game. We wish her and the rest of the Lady Royals the best of luck for the rest of the season!