Two years ago, Fabiola Rivera was not in Texas — as a matter of fact, she was not on the U.S. mainland.
The Haslet Eaton junior transferred to the school her sophomore year from Puerto Rico, reluctantly, but with an open mind and hoping to embrace her new environment and new team.
The support the Lady Eagles setter received was overwhelming, and Rivera in turn has been a rock for the Eaton volleyball team.
“I moved from Puerto Rico about a year and a half ago,” Rivera said. “I was not happy with the decision, but I didn’t have a choice. However, when Coach (Diane) Wilson told me I had made the team, I felt like I belonged. The team made this transition easy for me, and I am extremely grateful that I get to play with them every day. They’re my family.”
Never miss a local story.
Rivera’s team certainly did make the transition easier, due in large part to what Wilson said about the impression she made on the other players.
“Fabiola brings energy and passion to the team,” Wilson said. “She is passionate about learning the game, helping her teammates and competing. She was voted as team captain for the past two seasons by her teammates. Her first season here was last year (her sophomore year). She had only known the girls for two weeks when they selected her. She had an energy that the girls respond to.”
Rivera said she takes her leadership role very seriously and said she has been pleased with how her team has responded to the transition from JV to varsity volleyball.
“As one of the captains of the Eaton Eagles volleyball team, I am very proud of how the season has gone so far,” Rivera said. “The team is doing well and putting forth great effort every day. This season had a rough start, seeing as it was our first year playing at a varsity level, and we were going against schools that had been grooming varsity players for years.”
Rivera said she tries to bring energy and confidence every time she steps onto the court and said she spent the summer trying to overcome an issue over which she does not really have much control.
“During off season, I worked on improving my vertical and becoming faster on the court,” Rivera said. “Being only 5-5, I know my height is a disadvantage, but I knew that if I improved those things I would not be at a disadvantage anymore.”
Rivera said that Eaton is very capable of finishing out the season strong, but added it will take a couple of things.
“We need to become even closer than we are as a team and work twice as hard as we are now,” Rivera said. “Also, we need to have the confidence that we are just as good as any other team. It’s showtime.”