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Veterans Memorial High School senior JeNeva Jimenez just finished playing her final season of high school volleyball, where she led the Patriots to a 25-7, 16-2 season record, a second place finish in District 32-4A and a Bi-District appearance. In December, the district’s Offensive MVP as well as a second team All-Valley performer, decided to take her skills to the next level by signing with Lindenwood University in Belleville, Illinois. We were able to catch up with the outsider hitter to ask her about her future.

Ten Questions

Question: How excited are you to play volleyball at the next level?

Answer: I thank God for giving me the opportunity to be an active college athlete in a few months, something that not everyone is able to say. I am very excited to know that all my hard work has paid off.

Question: What is it about the game of volleyball that you love so much?

Answer: I cannot really put a finger on what it is exactly I love about the game, but I do know I love the rush I get once I'm on the court knowing I'm going to do anything and everything it takes to give 110% of my game because I hate to lose

Question: Why did you choose Lindenwood?

Answer: I chose Lindenwood because when I took the campus visit, I liked the idea of being in a small university where I was one in twenty five in a class rather than one in three hundred. I also connected well with the coach and the small town. And, frankly, the scholarship offer was too good to turn down.

Question: Without you in the program anymore, there will be a void to fill for Coach Ibarra. How is the future of Veterans Memorial looking? What do they need to do to continue to be successful?

Answer: Volleyball is a team sport, whether the team knows that or not. One player, although they may be a huge asset, cannot determine the game. I am a "has been" now, at least when it comes to the Veterans Volleyball program. Coach Lerma will no have a problem building up players to fill in my spot. I knew what I wanted my freshmen year as I started my varsity high school career, to be the best I could. It's up to the future athletes to decide what they want, and that will determine what affect they have to the program. I know there is a big batch of players coming up from the middles schools that should not be overlooked. Veterans will always be a power house and I'm glad I took part of the tradition and had at least one district title.

Question: What would be your word of advice for the younger players who are looking to repeat or at least experience some of your success as a volleyball player?

Answer: My word of advice to younger players is not to let anything stand in the way of what you want. There is going to be someone older or someone who thinks they are better than you that will always tell you what you CAN'T do, I've experienced enough to vouch for this, but if you want something bad enough, you can overcome anything. Have a good faith in God and good faith in yourself and enjoy the ride because it goes by faster than you can say "I should have..."

Question: Besides playing volleyball, what are some other hobbies you enjoy doing?

Answer: With the spare time that I have when I am not playing or training, I am usually lost in a book or with my church youth group who are like my second family.

Question: Do you feel the pressure to now perform at an even higher level, now that you are on the bigger stage? What have the coaches asked you to work on to prepare yourself for the next level?

Answer: I don't think I will have a problem adjusting to the "bigger stage" because to me it was never about who was watching me. I play the game at the best I can no matter who I'm playing with or where I'm playing and I was rewarded this scholarship because the coaches believe I can play at their level. I will continue to play volleyball throughout the year because I am in a club team called STJ and I will keep in shape for my two a-days in August.

Question: You transferred to Veterans Memorial after your sophomore season, how would you describe your two-year experience with the Patriots? What were some of the more memorable experiences?

Answer: I transferred to Veterans at the end of my sophomore year and I wasn't naive to think that it was going to be easy. My first year was the hardest, but I believe it made me a stronger player not only having to prove myself to my coach but do it with the pressure of everyone around you wanting you to slip up because I did take playing time away. I managed to persevere and ended up playing one of my best seasons. I set expectations high for myself and had two great years at Veterans Memorial. I like to think I had the best of both worlds as I did attend both high schools in Mission and was an asset to both athletic programs. The greatest feeling is when future Lady Patriots and Lady Eagles come up to me and tell me they want to be just like me. I wish only that they be better.

Question: What would be your word of advice for the younger players who are looking to repeat or at least experience some of your success as a volleyball player?

Answer: My word of advice to younger players is not to let anything stand in the way of what you want. There is going to be someone older or someone who thinks they are better than you that will always tell you what you CAN'T do, I've experienced enough to vouch for this, but if you want something bad enough, you can overcome anything. Have a good faith in God and good faith in yourself and enjoy the ride because it goes by faster than you can say "I should have..."

Question: Last question. Is next year’s team capable of taking down those darn Edcouch-Elsa Yellow Jackets?

Answer: Volleyball is a game of momentum. They are a very beatable team but the team as a whole needs to know that. One player can't beat a team; two players can't beat a team. Everyone needs to go out knowing their role and what they want. If one person is not in the right mindset, it can bring everyone else down.

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