When Bianca Ruiz was a freshman, she played on the freshman "B" volleyball team.
The T.F. North athlete had enough talent to play on the sophomore team, maybe even varsity.
"She wasn't committed to the program," Meteors coach Peg Haney said. "She needed to make better choices. She had a lot of growing up to do."
Ruiz made the turnaround her coach was hoping for.
"She is unbelievable," said Haney. "She has come a long way. She's always had the skills. She's an athlete, but I'm proud of how she's developed into a total person."
Ruiz is the starting setter for North and one of five seniors on the squad that is having a .500 season. But wins and losses don't define this team.
"We're improving," Haney said. "We're playing better as a team. I want the girls to have fun, also. I want them to enjoy their high school experience."
This week is North's Homecoming, so the girls have a powder puff football game on Thursday, in addition to a big match against rival T.F. South.
"We lost to them last year, but we're better than last year," Ruiz said. "I believe in my team. We need to stay strong and keep our attitudes off the court, like coach says, and work as a team."
Playing setter has helped Ruiz develop into a team leader.
"She's a good athlete and she senses when things need to take place," Haney said. "It's that sense you can't teach a player. She has that instinct and ability to make a difference in a game."
The Meteors run a 5-1 offense with Ruiz at the helm. She's a 90 percent server with 19 aces and has accurately set 97 percent of balls with 203 assists.
"She's really calm under pressure," Haney said, "and that comes from how versatile she is and from the other sports she plays."
Ruiz also plays goalie in soccer, the post in basketball and has also caught for the softball team.
"She's in a decision-making role in all her sports," Haney said. "Sure, she makes some mistakes, but her decisions are game changers."
Ruiz began her sports career at age 2 when she started playing soccer to be like her brother. She loves all sports.
"I've had some rough times growing up," Ruiz said, "but sports have helped me take out my anger, instead of taking it out on other people."
Ruiz also welcomes the challenge of being a setter and goalie.
"Setting helps me be a better goalie and being a goalie helps me be a better setter," she said. "I work with my hands a lot. I have to have strong hands. I'm blessed with these hands."
She wants to major in criminology or business and is looking at the University of Iowa and Purdue University. She knows sports will always be a part of her life.
"Sports is my first love," she said. "It keeps me up. I don't know where I'd be now without it. Sports have helped me out a lot and I'll never give up on it."