Lady Bengals’ Martinez ‘Player of the Week’

Gabriela (Gabby) Martinez, a senior on the Blythewood High School Lady Bengals volleyball team, was named WLTX-TV Player of the Week last week.

One of the best setters in the state, Gabby is third in the state, averaging 7.1 assists per game, and is number one in region IV-4A.

According to WLTX’s website, which features Gabby, “every set play is run through her, as the setter. Her excellence on the court should take her to the next level.”

She has a 95 percent success rate on serves with just nine errors on 186 total serves and only 18 errors in 50 sets played.

But when she does make an error, those who know Gabby notice one of her quirks – she cracks her knuckles if she feels it was a bad set.

Gabby began playing volleyball in the fifth grade when her mother Raquel Martinez enrolled her in a local YMCA league.

“It’s so fun to play,” Gabby said. “Ever since I played the first time, I just stuck with.”

And while volleyball is the center of her athletic universe, there is one other sport in the back of her mind.

“Badminton,” she said. “We played one time in ninth-grade P.E. and I was really good at it.”

Her father Louis, an active member in the U.S. military, is a volunteer coach on the team and has brought a conditioning aspect to the team.

“It has definitely helped us prevent injuries,” Gabby said.

When talking about what motivates, her Gabby said she knows how blessed she is.

“My parents go to every single game,” she said. “Their support means a lot.”

“They are my inspiration,” Gabby said. “They have put so much effort into my future and now it’s my turn to hold up my end of the deal.”

While she hasn’t decided yet where she’ll go to college, scouts from Belmont Abbey were in the stands scouting her at the home opener during region play recently, and numerous colleges and universities have already contacted her.

Off the court, Gabriela has a 1390 SAT score and she is currently holding down a 3.75 GPA, according to WLTX-TV. She is representing Blythewood High School at the Athletic Leadership Conference for Richland School District 2 as a News 19 Player of the Week.