CORPUS CHRISTI, TX — The Baker Broncs middle school volleyball team does not just send the ball over. They make sure to do it right, and one seventh grader shows us that no matter the obstacle, determination leads to success.
Seventh grade volleyball is a time for learning from mistakes, and head coach Nelda Shandy teaches her Baker Lady Broncs to be dedicated to fundamentals.
"I've learned like how to play, and they don't teach us like most middle schools do," said Julisa Garza, Baker seventh grade volleyball player. "They just do it like six on a regular court. Coach Shandy actually taught us how to do all of the stuff like how they would do in high school."
Garza is tough on herself at times, but Coach Shandy and her teammates love the passion.
“She’s really good at doing what she does," said Addison Gomez, Baker seventh grade setter and outside hitter. "She’s a really strong hitter. She’s a good server and she goes hard on herself, but I can see why and I go hard on myself too so it’s like having another person like me.”
Passing the ball is the first step to success, but Garza has to make a few extra adjustments.
"Every time I try to pass, since my arms don't go together, it (the ball) always hits off this arm (right) and then it could go off anywhere," said Garza. "I've gotten it pretty good so far where it goes off this arm mostly, but it still goes nice."
Garza was born with Symbrachydactyly syndrome. It occurs in about one in every 32,000 births.
"She was born without her right hand and I mean she has found something that she had to adapt too because she was already born that way," said Vanessa Martinez, Julissa's mother.
Julisa serves overhand just like everybody else, but instead of tossing with her right she tosses with her left."
"At first it was hard because I had to throw it up a little bit higher, but then it wasn't hard because I skipped doing underhand," said Garza.
"I was really, really excited for her and really proud of her because I know she works hard," said Nelda Shandy, Baker seventh grade volleyball coach. "Sometimes you know she has to work doubly hard."
Garza loves serving the Lady Broncs, and her hard work unknowingly inspires others.
"She knows she can do everything," said Martinez. "Doesn't matter whether she has one hand or no hands or what have you. It doesn't matter."