She made her mark right away, recalls her coach.
“It was just a summer league game, but Elizabeth had her game face on the whole time,” said Coach Deanna Dominguez. “She was a super tiny thing, just getting to high school, but she played every point like it was the championship of the world. That’s when I knew what she was all about.”
Elizabeth would be Elizabeth Olivarez, the four-year starter for Dominguez’ EHS volleyball program, and after helping lead the team to more than 100 victories in that span, the libero is headed for the college ranks.
The occasion of her coach’s telling remarks was a signing Thursday as Olivarez prepares to head to San Antonio after graduation, to play for Our Lady of the Lake. An academic superstar as well as an award-winning defensive specialist, the lean but mean veteran caught the eye of the coaches at The Lake as a team player who was/is versatile and tough.
The fact is, Olivarez was originally a setter and the fact that she was able to find a key spot in the rotation at libero is a testament to the aforementioned qualities. Again, Dominguez put it well.
“Here’s a great kid who embraced the role she had to play, and did an amazing job,” the coach opined before a large crowd of supporters at the EHS gym. “We haven’t got the latest banner up yet but Elizabeth was such a big part of all the wins. When others might have been thinking of themselves, she did what she had to do for the team, and it was very important for our success.”
As outstanding as her career has been, Olivarez can remember a time when she faced adversity and bested it. Midway through her time with the Lady Bobcats, she decided she wasn’t going to play anymore.
“Everyone could see the difference, and so could I,” she recalled, smiling at the memory. “I just wasn’t the same without volleyball, it was such a big part of who I was, and am. Luckily I had people who cared about me, my mom and coaches, so I knew what I was going to do.”
After the brief hiatus from the game, Olivarez returned to her accustomed passion with a vengeance, as the rock in the back that got the offensive ball rolling for the perennial powerhouse.
And it has led to the next level.
“I think I am more excited than nervous about the whole thing,” she said. “I mean, the chance to meet new girls from different places, it realty appeals to me, and I am looking forward to going up to San Antonio and see how it goes.”
Following in the footsteps of great backline talents such as Zee Borrego and Myranda Hinojosa, Olivarez had no problem emphatically placing her stamp on the program.
Known for her intensity as well as her ability, she will now roll onward, with the well wishes of the school and the town accompanying her to the Alamo City.