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Hilmar's Baptista to play for University of Pacific
Baptista signs pic
Hilmar standout Emily Baptista signs her letter of intent on Wednesday to join University of Pacific on a volleyball scholarship. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

Emily Baptista signed her letter of intent on Wednesday to join University of Pacific on a volleyball scholarship.

Since verbally committing to UOP after only her freshman year, the Hilmar standout has only gotten better.

Standing at 6-foot-2, the four-year varsity sensation has taken the league and area by storm since joining the Yellowjackets team back in the 2012 season when she was standing at about 6-feet even.

Physically gifted and driven by the love and passion for the sport, Baptista has flourished into one of the best volleyball players in the area and without question, perhaps the best in Hilmar High history and she gives many praises to everyone who has crossed her path in life—especially her parents.

“The one thing that really pushed me to get to this point is my parents. They have done everything for me, always driving me wherever I went to practice,” said Baptista. “I am paying them back—sort of—by not having them have to worry about getting me through college, it’s a huge weight off their shoulders.”

“She is self-motivated as far as that goes. She loves volleyball. She tried a few other sports growing up, but wasn't motivated at all but with volleyball she has not stopped since,” said Randy Baptista, Emily's father. “She really enjoys it... she still does. I am very proud of what she has accomplished.”

With the assistance of Baptista, the Yellowjackets have accomplished a lot.

Since Baptista joined the 'Jackets, they have accumulated a Trans Valley League record of 44-2 over a four-year span, including three outright league titles and Section Championship appearances [2013, 2014].

Baptista has been the difference maker as the league Most Valuable Player over the last two seasons, including making the All-District and All-League team for last year.

“We have been able to achieve what we have over recent years, in large part because we have been lucky to have a player like Emily,” said Hilmar volleyball head coach Patti Harris. “We are going to really miss having her.”

Baptista will soon join a Pacific Tigers squad that accumulated a 14-11 record heading into the final week of action.

“I am so happy and I am very blessed to have all these people around me who have supported me,” Baptista added. “It’s been a ride going through club and have all these people that want me to do well was a real blessing and I am just really excited for what the future holds and I can't wait for the next step in my life.”