Gering’s Alex Gonzalez-Orozco was one of the top liberos in the Wyo-Braska area the last couple of years and now she will be heading to the collegiate level after signing with Western Nebraska Community College, where she was actually a ball girl for the volleyball team when she was younger. 

                Gonzalez-Orozco, who finished with 1,731 career digs, is excited to be continuing her volleyball career at WNCC.  

                “It means a lot to me to continue my collegiate career at WNCC because I’ve grown up watching the Cougars play since I was little,” Gonzalez-Orozco said. “They have been a huge influence on me from going to watch them play, being their ball girl, and now actually being in the team.” 

                From the connection she has had with WNCC, it wasn’t a difficult decision to play volleyball at WNCC. Gonzalez-Orozco is the first to play collegiate sports in her immediate family. 

                “It was an easy choice choosing WNCC because of what I mentioned before and being able to learn from previous players and coach Binney Canales,” she said. “I chose WNCC for that reason, to stay close to home and because I loved the environment of the school overall and I wanted to grab the chance to join team I have wanted to be a part of since I was little.” 

                Gonzalez-Orozco also follows in a long line of former Gering players that have gone through the WNCC volleyball program and been successful either academically, athletically, or both, and many of which have gone on to play volleyball at 4-year institutions. 

                Some of the former Bulldogs that went to WNCC to play included Macey Boggs, who is now at the University of Wyoming, Eli Winkler, Lauren Schaul Santanna and Arianna Mitchell, Kaylee Spreier, and Olivia Schaub to name a few. 

                “It is a great honor to be able to follow in these talented players footsteps,” Gonzalez-Orozco said. “I hope to do the program justice just as they did.” 

                Gonzalez-Orozco brings plenty of volleyball talent to the Cougar program. The last few years she was a libero, but actually started out as an outside hitter her freshman and sophomore year where she finished with 106 kills those two years. She had 126 kills those two years and finished with 126 career kills. 

                She also had 277 service points, including 210 this past year along with 38 aces this season. She had 117 ace serves in her 4-year career. 

                But it was defense where Gonzalez-Orozco excelled, finishing with 500 or more digs her junior and senior season. She had 1,097 in those two years and finished with 1,731 for her career. On top of that, she also had 122 career set assists and 15 solo blocks. 

                Gonzalez-Orozco quickly realized how important being a libero was. 

                “Starting out as an outside hitter my freshman year, I was really excited because that was my position all of middle school and that's what I thought I wanted to do,” she said. “But once I got switched to a DS/libero I realized that defense is what I really loved about the game and where I belonged on the court.” 

                Gering coach Amanda Cochran said Gonzalez-Orozco had a stellar volleyball career at Gering. 

                “Alex is one of the top passers in the region,” Cochran said. “She is very smart and sees the court well. It was fun to watch her become a vocal leader this last season. We are going to miss her a lot! I look forward to watching her collegiate journey and cheering her on.” 

                At Gering, Gonzalez-Orozco helped the Bulldogs to the district finals this season and she will have plenty of memories of her Gering playing days. 

                “The memories I have from playing at Gering the last four years have been a mixed bag for me,” she said. “I have had some really fun and exciting times, I’ve had some sad emotional memories, and also some frustrating ones, but overall, I wouldn’t change a thing playing with the girls I got the opportunity to play with.” 

                It is those connections with her team that will stand out. Plus, now, she will gain even more friendships at collegiate level with her teammates. She will cherish her teammates and coaches at Gering. 

                “My memories are the connections with some of my teammates and coaches, as well as building memories with them are some of the things I will miss from my time at Gering,” she said. 

                Gonzalez-Orozco only played volleyball at Gering but was part of the Lios Club and National Honor Society. 

                “I did not play any other sports in high school but I am a part of the LEOs club and National Honor Society,” she said. “I like the environment of these club and having the opportunity to volunteer in my community.” 

                When she comes to WNCC, she doesn’t have a set major, but is leaning toward radiology. What she hopes to accomplish, though, is to continue on at a 4-year school and help the team. 

                “My goals for WNCC next year are to be successful on the court and in the classroom and hopefully prove that I deserve to be on the team,” she said. “And, yes, I would love to play volleyball at the next level at a four-year college, but I know it will take a lot of hard work, dedication, and perseverance, which I am willing to put in.” 

                She added she can’t wait to become a Cougar next year. 

                “I am really excited and I can't wait to get started building connections with my team,” she said.