Vongni Yang, The Union Democrat

Rebecca Conley's volleyball career is about to take off.

The Calavera Redskin senior signed her National Letter of Intent last Tuesday to suit up for the Cal State Stanislaus volleyball program after securing a scholarship from head coach Christina Lore.

"I'm really excited," Conley said. "It's really unreal to me. It's always been one of my dreams to play in college. It still hasn't set in yet. I have been working so hard to get it. I'm very excited for next year."

Despite garnering interest from Sonoma State, Biola University, Cal State Monterey Bay and multiple schools on the east coast, the attraction of playing close to home is what drew the 18-year-old Conley to the Division II program in Turlock.

"I decided to stay in California because I would really miss my family," Conley said. "It's still drivable from home and I can still see my family."

With the 6-foot middle blocker a strong presence for Calaveras last fall, the Redskins captured their first Mother Lode League title in 28 years. The team also won a playoff game and hosted another under first-year head coach Kristy Dwyer.

Calaveras went 20-7 overall and 13-2 in MLL play in Conley's senior season.

"She just has a positive attitude everyday," Dwyer said. "She's always in a great mood. She gave it 100 percent all the time at practice. Her playing ability is just phenomenal in the front row. If the ball was set to her, I always figured it was going to be a kill. She was just a great player. She was nails on."

As a senior, Conley played in 72 sets and registered 121 kills with 45 blocks.

"She's consistent in the front row," Dwyer said. "She can hit well and block well. She could do both. She hit great from the middle spot and did a great job of blocking. Usually, a player excels at one or another, but she was incredible at both."

Conley, a second-team All-MLL selection, is expected to redshirt as a true freshman, but will continue playing middle blocker at the next level.

"Our goal this year was to win league for volleyball and we attained that," Conley said. "It just topped it off that I am able to play next year too. I just wanted to keep playing. I'm really excited."