HANFORD — It only took nine days, but Lemoore’s Shelby Saporetti is now a Toro. The senior volleyball player put the horns up and said “Go Toros!” after signing her National Letter of Intent to continue her career at California State University, Dominguez Hills on Thursday.
“It’s just so surreal to me,” Saporetti said from the Lemoore Event Center where she signed with family, friends and coaches in attendance. “I wanted to play college for the longest time ever and I wasn’t sure if it was possible for me, but with the right people here and friends … just made my whole dream come true.”
After initially being contacted by Dominguez Hills on a Tuesday, she was on campus six days later for a visit. Then after talking with her parents and the school, Saporetti committed to the school two days later.
The 6-foot-1-inch outside hitter and defensive specialist visited other schools like Westmont College and Fresno City, in addition to receiving interest from schools in New Jersey, New York and other states, but she wanted to stay local.
Her visit to Dominguez Hills sealed the decision.
“The thing that really set me like, ‘Yeah, this is the place’ was when I first got there I talked to the coach and it just seemed so comfortable,” Saporetti said. “It felt like I knew her 20 years before even though I’m only 18. … I just really liked the atmosphere of the campus, location, I already know some girls on the team, so I know they’re going to be pretty good next year.”
The 18-year-old will be joining a team that went 9-16 overall last season and 4-13 in conference play. Saporetti plans on majoring in communications to help her become a pharmaceutical representative when she’s done playing volleyball.
According to Lemoore coach Valarie Burkett, Saporetti will have no problem fitting in at the next level with her outgoing personality and leadership qualities.
“She was just born to shine,” Burkett said. “Just seeing her as a seventh grader, eighth grader she was a leader on and off the court. Just to have that in your program is an amazing thing. We were really happy to have her.”
Saporetti said one thing she’ll miss about playing volleyball at the high school level were the coaches who helped mold her into the player she is now.
“Coach [Rachel] Taylor, she’s my rock, she taught me how to not be long and lanky and how to make myself coordinated,” Saporetti said. “Coach [Burkett] this year she taught me how to let all the drama over my head and be who I am and not take it to heart and not let it affect my playing.”
This past season, Saporetti helped lead the Tigers to a 14-15 overall record and 3-7 West Yosemite League record, including a berth in the CIF Central Section Division II playoffs. She was named to the All-WYL First Team after a successful senior season.