Volleyball: Gonzalez inspirational in his play

The Balers' Chris Gonzalez has played solid at the libero position.

Every time Chris Gonzalez has taken the court this season, he’s done it with a heavy heart. Last summer, Gonzalez’s father, Armando, died in a motorcycle accident. He was 37.
“All the seasons I play now (whether) it’s football or volleyball or anything, it’s for him,” said Gonzalez, the starting libero on the San Benito High boys volleyball team.
Gonzalez’s inspirational play has been one of the bright spots for a young San Benito squad that earned its first Monterey Bay League win in four games over Palma on April 7.
“Chris has a certain tenacity for the ball,” Balers coach Eric Adams said. “He’s always active and diving for the ball, and his work ethic is pretty incredible. He’s a kid who finishes first when we’re doing conditioning, so that tells you a little something about the effort he gives.”
The 5-foot-6, 120-pound Gonzalez has made several nice digs and passes this season, keeping points alive for a San Benito team that features a sophomore-heavy roster. Gonzalez’s strengths centers around his ability to never give up on a point.
“I feel like I can have an impact on every single play,” he said. “I think I’ve been doing really good, but I know I can keep improving.”
Said Adams: “Chris still has a lot to learn when it comes to reading where the attacking player is going to hit it, but he’s picked up a lot of down balls and is one of our more consistent passers.”
Even though the Balers aren’t in contention for a league title, Gonzalez said he’s had a blast playing with the team. Gonzalez didn’t start playing the sport until the eighth grade, having grown up playing baseball and football. Gonzalez played running back for the freshmen team and junior varsity squad in his first two seasons.
Even though Gonzalez has been playing football longer than volleyball, he counts both sports as his favorite.
“It just depends on the season,” he said.
Gonzalez relies on the life lessons he learned from his dad everyday.
“My dad told me to never get down on anything,” he said. “To always keep working. I really leaned on dad for a lot of years.”
Gonzalez remembers one game in which he fumbled the ball, setting up the winning score for the other team.
“I was sad at the end of the game, but my dad picked me up,” he said. “He never let me get too down.”
It shows.

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