Before heading to Pepperdine University, on a full volleyball scholarship, Santa Fe Christian senior Victoria Adelhelm has some unfinished business to take care of.
"We would like to win League and the State Championships again," said the 6-foot 3-inch middle blocker. "I think it was done only once during Sarah Munoz's time here. As a senior, I would like to leave that legacy at Santa Fe Christian."
Adelhelm's mother Heather urged her into volleyball in the sixth grade at Rancho Santa Fe Middle School.
"My mother thought that going out for volleyball would help me socially," said the Rancho Santa Fe resident. "They have an unbelievable volleyball program there, with a great coach in Jackie Mendez."
Adelhelm entered Santa Fe Christian as a freshman and was on the Lady Eagles' junior varsity team. This will be her third year on the varsity. After her sophomore year, she made the Southern California High Performance Volleyball team that played in Croatia and Italy. Her current club and travel team is the Wave of Del Mar.
Adelhelm made her college decision early last year. Before deciding on Pepperdine, she was wooed by some top West Coast programs including USC, California, Stanford, and USD.
"I knew I wanted to stay in California," said Adelhelm. "I love this state, the weather, the people; it's the complete package. USC, Stanford and Cal were too big for me, so it boiled down to either USD or Pepperdine. My mom graduated from USD, but even though she was a little disappointed I didn't choose her alma mater, she supported my decision. Both schools are much smaller, and I like that type of atmosphere.
Much like her Solana Beach high school.
"The atmosphere at Santa Fe Christian is great," she said. "Just having teachers that know you on a personal level. The tight bond between teachers and students is fantastic. You can confide in them and they won't judge you. Also playing under Coach Gail Malone, I'm so lucky. Coach has a tremendous commitment to our school. She understands each player, and having played in the Olympics is also a great asset."
Adelhelm's coach Gail Malone has equal praise for her player.
"Victoria has become a dominant factor as a middle blocker," said Malone. "She has earned the respect of her fellow teammates and competitors. People don't want to match up against Victoria. She is a fantastic blocker and makes our front row really strong. She also has gotten stronger in her kills and has become a dynamic hitter. Most of all she is a very hard worker."
Adelhelm says she has developed a jump-float serve this summer playing club volleyball.
"As a middle blocker, I have to improve on eye work," she said, "so that I'm not guessing. Also watching the play on the other side to become a better and efficient blocker."
Since the nation has recently been exposed to hundreds of hours of Olympic coverage, Adelhelm says she has thought about playing on the U.S. Volleyball Team.
"It has come up as a dinner conversation," she said. "If so, probably for the 2016 Olympics. But, it would involve a commitment. And right now I just want to enjoy life with volleyball and outside of volleyball.
I love volleyball," she added, "but I also have other interests such as cooking and baking cakes and desserts. I have friends in and outside of volleyball. I love to travel and have already visited 11 countries."
At the age of 8, Adelhelm decided to become a vegetarian. "But, I still make sure I get my proteins," she said. "I just didn't like the taste and texture of chewing on something that can smile back at me. Everyone knows that I'm a vegetarian and my teammates are very respectful."