BRONX, N.Y. - Hillary and Valerie Rios are more than sisters. They’re volleyball players who grew up playing the sport in the Dominican Republic, but because of their modesty, no one knew of their skill level until they stepped onto their Bronx high school court last school year.
"I was not feeling like if I was at home," Hillary said. "But then they told me in this school they had a volleyball team and I said, ‘Oh, okay. I’m going to try out. Let’s see how I do here.’"
The girls’ volleyball coach, Martin Cedillo-Colibri, said he soon realized how talented they were.
They had an excellent season.
The Rios sisters led AECI 2 NYC Charter High School in Mount Eden to back-to-back city and state championships.
What's even more impressive is that they accomplished this with a substandard gym.
"It’s hard to play because it’s small," Valerie said.
The gym is roughly 20 feet smaller than a regulated court.
"A lot of serves are going out here, but in a normal court, they’re in," Hillary said.
Despite not having an adequate gym to play in, the girls have big dreams and plan on taking this sport to the next level.
"I hope to play in college," Valerie said.
"I want to keep playing volleyball in college and begin my career," Hillary added. "I want to do criminal justice and I want to [succeed] in that."
Right now, Hillary, who’s a senior, is being recruited by Division II schools. Valerie still has time as a sophomore, but as immigrants they’re both proving that if you set your mind to it, you can achieve it.