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Senior Profile: Mendiola on the mend for Yellowjackets
A knee injury during volleyball wiped out most of Carolina Mendiola's junior season, dealing a major blow to three Williams High sports teams.
The injury happened during the volleyball season and she tried to play through it, but seven games into the basketball season she had to call it quits for the rest of the year and have surgery, missing the entire softball season.
"I tore my lateral meniscus but I tore it so bad that they couldn't repair it so they ended up taking more than half of my meniscus out," Mendiola said.
She now wears a knee brace and is working on strengthening her legs to make up for instability in the joint.
Williams volleyball coach Katie Davalos pushed Mendiola to try to come back from her injury in time to play volleyball and loves having her on the team.
"I've enjoyed coaching her," Davalos said. "She's very intelligent, she's one of the smartest girls we have this year."
Mendiola is gradually working her way back into the Williams volleyball lineup after sitting out the first two matches and is now a full-time player in the front row as an outside hitter.
"It's hard, I have my good days where I could run a mile and I have my bad days where I can't even jog half a lap," she said. "I just kind of go day by day."
She is playing cautiously during the volleyball season and preparing for the basketball season when she hopes to pick up where she left off last year.
When the injury became too much to bear during the basketball season, the Yellowjackets were in the midst of a resurgence, sporting a 5-2 record. She averaged 3.9 points, 10.3 rebounds and nearly a block a game. With Mendiola out of the lineup, the team won just one game the rest of the way.
"It was heartbreaking seeing it transition from being so high to all the way down to the bottom again," Mendiola said.
Her favorite memory from her high school career came from around the time she had to shut it down, when the Yellowjackets nearly beat Pierce in a tournament in Arbuckle.
"We've never, that I can remember, been that close to beating Pierce because they're a really, really good school for athletics," Mendiola said. "It was a pretty close game, and we were up for most of it, and then at the last minute they just shot a 3-pointer and we lost by a point but I've never been more proud of my team."
With fellow senior Emilee Cranford, who averaged 16.6 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals a game, Mendiola hopes to help guide the Yellowjackets back to the playoffs and recapture the atmosphere at Williams that she remembers from her childhood when her older sister, Maria Elena, played.
A self-proclaimed nerd who loves to read, Mendiola wants to take her 3.85 GPA to Sonoma State where she plans on studying zoology and would like to try out for the basketball team.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at email@example.com