St. Michael’s volleyball standout to play at Felician University
Miquela Martinez will be just 15 minutes from the “The Big Apple.”
Hopefully, she will get a chance to visit New York City when the St. Michael’s senior continues her volleyball career at Felician University in Lodi, N.J.
Martinez, who was a first-team Class 3A All-State player and guided the Lady Horsemen to the state title in November, signed a letter of intent to play for the NCAA Division II school in the 2019-20 year.
Martinez said she chose the school because of the relationship she built with the coaching staff over the summer and into the volleyball season.
“They communicated with me well and they were always checking up on me,” Martinez said. “My coach [John Chang] was always calling me after games and asking for updates, whether it was about school or how I was feeling. I know he is going to be there when I go to school there. [The relationship] got on point when I’m three or four hours away [in terms of time-zone difference] and it will be better when he’s down the street.”
Felician gets one of the state’s best setters, who averaged 33.7 assists per match this season. St. Michael’s went 22-2 and beat three-time defending champion Albuquerque Sandia Prep in the 3A championship match.
Martinez is also a top-notch server, as she recorded a 95.2-percent service percentage and averaged 2.9 aces per match. And don’t forget her role in the back row (305 digs, good for second on the team) and at the net as a blocker (0.9 per match) and even hitting (3.6 kills).
“No matter the play, she is always 110 percent,” St. Michael’s head coach Valerie Sandoval said. “I could count on my hands where she never touched the ball whether it was passing, or digging or down blocking or hitting.”
While Martinez said the Chang and his staff was interested in her as a setter, Martinez had no qualms about playing other positions — even in the back row.
“I was open to switching positions; I’m open to [playing defensive specialist],” Martinez said. “I’m primarily a setter, but I can work hard at whatever position the coaches want.”
Martinez said she had contact with the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State, but the communication with both coaching staffs decreased over time. She enjoyed her visit to the campus when she went to Felician in the fall, from the coaches and the players to the people she met.
“It’s an interesting change,” Martinez said. “I loved the weather and the people I met were super friendly and welcoming.”
The only thing Martinez didn’t do was visit New York City, which her parents, David and Robin Martinez, did.
“I had to fly back because I had an AP exam the next day,” Miquela Martinez said. “It was short, but worth the visit.”
At least Martinez has a chance to make up for the oversight next year.