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Alexander's Ortiz commits to Arkansas State

Posted Date: 04/11/2023

Alexander's Ortiz commits to Arkansas State

The goal ever since Alexander’s Valeria Ortiz started playing volleyball was to play at the collegiate level and this weekend she took a big step in achieving that dream.

After an extensive recruitment process -- that spanned months and many college visits -- Ortiz narrowed her choice of where she will be taking her talents next year.

Ortiz told the Laredo Morning Times in an exclusive interview that she has verbally committed to Arkansas State University because of its strong academics and athletics excellence.

“I decided to play at Arkansas State University and continue my volleyball career there,” Ortiz said. “It was really hard deciding because I had to tell the other schools no. Obviously in the recruiting process you make connections with the coaches and you are getting to know each other on a personal level but you have to decide if it is the right fit for you because it is the next four years of your life.”

Arkansas State University is a NCAA Division I college and plays in the Sun Belt Conference along with Texas State University, Marshall, Southern Miss University and many more colleges. This past season, the Red Wolves finished 2-14 in conference play and 9-22 overall.  

In the past two weeks, Ortiz narrowed her choices to two DI programs but it was Arkansas State that won her over because of the culture that the program is attempting to build. 

“I did not know what I was going to do and I was asking my parents for advice,” Ortiz said. “They wanted this decision to be my decision. I had a call with both because I wanted to see what my future might hold being at their school. One thing that stuck with me is the culture that Arkansas State University is trying to build. So I am going to be going in with eight other freshmen and they are really trying to revamp their program.”

As she navigated through the recruiting process, Ortiz made a connection with the coaching staff as it made her feel like Arkansas State was the right fit for her and her talents. 

“The program just felt like home and I felt safe with the coaches,” Ortiz said. “Coach and player connection is really important to me and I just felt that I could laugh with them, I could have serious talks and I could tell them anything and that was the day of the visit. I connected with the players and got to watch their practices. I could picture myself being part of the team.”

She caught the eyes of Arkansas State's coaching staff at a tournament in Kansas City, which is one of the premier club volleyball tournaments in the nation. Ortiz played for San Antonio Magic.  

“This tournament is known for the best of the best and the top 100 (volleyball) clubs in the nation get invited to that tournament,” Ortiz said. “Every D1 university is there and it is a huge tournament with great exposure. There is a lot of competition.”

Ortiz’s parents, Valentina and Ramiro, have been guiding her ever since she decided to start playing the sport in elementary. Now, to see their only daughter fulfill a lifelong dream is something that they are very proud of.

“First of all I want to say that I am very proud of her,” Valentina said. “It has taken a toll on her, physically as well. I respect all athletes across the board. I know the time and effort it takes. Valeria has worked very hard. I just kept encouraging her, with the mere fact of COVID, to keep working and moving forward and your goals will be met. As a family we are excited for her. Yes, it is nerve wrecking but we could not be more happy for her.” 

Ortiz was a catalyst in Alexander’s success this past season as she helped the Lady Bulldogs finish second in the final District 30-6A standings. This past season, Ortiz was named to All-District 30-6A first team and Laredo Morning Times All-City first team. 

This past year, Ortiz played every game except for two due to an injury but managed to finish with 35 aces, 98 kills, 18 blocks, 436 assists and 226 digs to conclude her high school career.