Setter Adrienne Cox-Smiley helped the Los Osos Freshmen team earn a 14-0 overall record while maintaining a 3.5 GPA. (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

This student athlete is making her presence known within her high school volleyball team. Freshmen setter Adrienne Cox-Smiley has helped the Los Osos Grizzlies freshmen team maintain an undefeated record.

Her passion for having good grades and being competitive in volleyball helps her balance the challenges of being a student and an athlete.

“They both bring me joy,” Cox-Smiley said. “It’s very difficult, but when you’re doing something you love, it’s all worth it.”

Cox-Smiley explained how the atmosphere of the team was genial and focused. The Grizzlies knew when to be serious and competitive and when they could be lighthearted.

“I love how we can be very strict, as well as very goofy,” Cox-Smiley said. “We’re a very weird team, but we obviously got the job done.”

Group work in English class prepares her the most for volleyball.

“When we get into group projects, we have a different set of people every time,” Cox-Smiley said. “We get to basically share our different ideas and work together to create an awesome project and it’s the same in volleyball.”

Math is Cox-Smiley’s favorite class and her biology teacher got her interested in science. She aspires to be a marine biologist. Cox-Smiley currently has a 3.5 GPA.

The Los Osos freshmen team put up a strong campaign. In their first seven matches, the Grizzlies did not allow their opponents to score a single set.

“Since we were undefeated, it really gave us the push to stay undefeated, so it was a very tough thing to do,” Cox-Smiley said. “When you’re on the court, you get so nervous; but at the same time, it was a good feeling to know that your team worked so well together.”

A match between Chino Hills in late September threatened Los Osos’ perfect record. The match is one of Cox-Smiley’s fondest memories from the season.

“We won the first game and then we lost the second one,” she said. “Once we got to the third game, we were down, it was 10-2 and we were struggling to get back up.”

The road to an undefeated season did not come without speed bumps. Cox-Smiley recalled a time when the team played in a junior varsity tournament. In a battle against Serrano High, Cox-Smiley missed hitting the ball, causing the opponent to score. Her coach taught her to not let mistakes hinder your performance.

“I wasn’t where I was supposed to be and I felt like I wasn’t paying attention and I wasn’t good enough,” Cox-Smiley said. “My coach came to me and she said ‘it’s one mistake … even though it was the last point, it’s not the end of the world.’”

She remembers that piece of advice when playing to help her get over any errors made and continue to be competitive.

Cox-Smiley has been playing volleyball for five years, her experience includes playing club volleyball. The sport can be a big financial commitment for athletes who want to pursue a future in volleyball.

Cox-Smiley has been able to play in tournaments in Nevada and Arizona. Those tournaments gave her the push to be a better player.

“There’s so many different teams and you see everyone thrive,” she said. “They always clap for their teammates even when they do something wrong.”