For Odessa High senior middle blocker Marina Gonzales, volleyball is her number one passion.

Gonzales transferred during the 2017 season after spending three seasons at Midland High.

On Wednesday afternoon, Gonzales signed with Sul Ross State University in front of friends and family at the Odessa High Fieldhouse.

Gonzales was sidelined to start District 2-6A play after the transfer, taking the court for the final six contests.

It was hard for Gonzales to sit out, but she helped out her teammates by giving her all during practice and being a leader.

“Being out there not being able to play, from the beginning I knew I wasn’t going to be able to play, and they didn’t say how long,” Gonzales said. “So, whenever we finally got the news it was heartbreaking. I just wanted to be out there.

“Finally, when the time came I couldn’t waste it. I only had six games to prove myself. I gave it my all every single game, and even if it didn’t show in our record these girls fought really hard.”

Gonzales chose Sul Ross because of its close proximity to home and family. She’ll get an opportunity to play for head coach Troy Canaba, who enters his second season at the helm.

“It’s not too far from home. This is my first year away from my parents, and so that was kind of a factor,” she said. “I didn’t want to be too far to where I was gonna miss them and want to come home, and regret any decisions.”

Lady Bronchos head coach Victoria Smith will definitely miss Gonzales for her work ethic and leadership on and off the court.

“She definitely has a presence on the court. She’s a vocal leader,” Smith said. “She leads by example. She’s always pushing herself to go faster, go harder, jump higher, and that definitely trickles down to the rest of her teammates.

“Even though this was her first year at OHS, she’s definitely a Broncho, and I’m very happy that she was a part of my team this year.”

Gonzales hopes to major in kinesiology and then become a physical therapist in the sports medicine field.

>>Follow Peter Dindinger on Twitter @OA_PDindinger