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Buffs Martinez marketed herself to JC in Texas
Manteca senior Julia Martinez signs a copy of her national letter of intent to play volleyball at Cisco College in Texas, beginning in the fall. Martinez is flanked by her mother Lisa Jose (bottom left), sister Amy Jose (back left), father Peter Martinez and coach Tim Horning. - photo by James Burns

Julia Martinez wasn’t just one of the tallest, most intimidating volleyball players in the Valley Oak League.

She was also the most camera-friendly.

The 5-foot-10 Martinez was an offensive star for Manteca High, stalking the net in search of a kill or a block.

All the while, her parents kept the camcorder rolling, documenting her highlights and on-court abilities.

Instead of letting the film collect dust, the Martinez family put the footage to good use, uploading it onto the Web and recruiting sites.

“They were taping and filming all season long,” Manteca High coach Tim Horning said. “They posted some of those videos for people who couldn’t come see her.”

Martinez was determined not to let Manteca High be the final stop in her volleyball career.

And it won’t.

Martinez signed her national letter of intent on to attend and play for Cisco College in Texas, beginning in the fall. Martinez was awarded a full-ride scholarship to the two-year program.

She made the pact official on Feb. 28, but celebrated the accomplishment with family, friends, school administrators and head coach Tim Horning in the Brasmer library Tuesday.

Cisco is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association. The Wranglers went 10-17 last season.

“I’m excited,” Martinez said. “… I get to keep my position as right-side hitter.”

Martinez brings a reputation as a powerful hitter. She was a two-time All-Area selection and one of only two Manteca-area players to be named to the all-Valley Oak League’s first team last fall.

She was one of the few bright spots for a program in transition. The Buffaloes featured six juniors, one sophomore and one freshman, and showed their youth. Manteca finished last in the VOL at 2-12 and 9-21 overall.

Martinez made it tough on the opposition, though.

She averaged 2.1 kills per set, totaling 201 – nearly double that of her next closest teammate. She ranked second on the team in blocks (40).

Six times she recorded double-digit kills and she achieved her season high of 17 three times.

“She had off days, everyone does, but there were at least three matches where she was up around 15 kills or more,” Horning said. “When you are at our record and where we were, it didn’t always (lead to) big wins. But she was a force that kept us close.

“We had a lot of five-game matches (5), and a lot of that can be attributed to her offensive power. We had some other weapons, but we were young.”

Horning said Martinez is the first Manteca volleyball to sign a national letter of intent of any kind in his eight years as coach.

She may have a future in marketing after mother, Lisa Jose, steered the recruitment process.

Jose sent Martinez’s resume, bio and YouTube clips to 18 Division I junior colleges in Texas. They eventually narrowed the field to five, before picking Cisco because of its proximity to family.

Jose said the entire family will move with Martinez.

“It’s nice to have your first player to be signing,” Horning said. “We’ve had some talented players come through here, but nobody pursued it as much as Julia. She got her name out there and it paid off.”