Polk State College volleyball player Rachel Aguilar has learned quite a bit from playing at Polk State College.
Now she's ready for something on another level.
The 19-year-old setter from Caracas, Venezuela, has signed a scholarship to play with Oklahoma Baptist University, which is a member of the NAIA.
Aguilar is ready to move on.
She's had plenty of experience on many playing platforms.
The two-time All Suncoast Conference First Team member has attended the FCSAA/State Tournament twice while playing with Polk State College.
She also spent four years on the Venezuelan national volleyball team.
Heading to the next level in Oklahoma feels comfortable to her.
"I want to try something new," she said. "The place is kind of like here. The people are friendly. The team is pretty good and they offered me a full scholarship."
Aguilar also considered Coker College, Northwood University and Alabama A&M University before settling on Oklahoma Baptist University.
The transition should be smooth for the daughter of Rafael Aguilar and Mary Marquez.
She's traveled to other countries such as Cuba, Peru, Mexico, and Colombia, to play the game since she was age 13.
For the privilege of playing on the national team, Aguilar had to learn manage her time well.
"You have to grow up early and be responsible, respect the rules, work hard and keep your grades up.
"That taught me a lot," she said.
While she had been out of her home country before, playing in the United States and at Polk was different to Aguilar.
It also turned into a learning experience.
Aguilar found she could raise her skills, thanks to the change at Polk and coach German Del Vallen.
"German pushes you," she said. "He knows you can do more than you think."
"Rachel has brought international experience to our game," Del Valle said. "She is an all-around player. She provides variety in our offensive system. Her character on and off the court is definitely a big asset to the Eagles volleyball program."
Del Valle's guidance helped prepare Aguilar to compete on the NAIA level, where the expectations are high for the future Bison.
Oklahoma coach Ann Howle is giving Aguilar the edge as starting setter based on her height and footwork.
"That made me feel really nice," Aguilar said. "I have to keep working hard."
She'll take lessons learned from Polk with her.
"I've learned a lot and I got a lot better," Aguilar said. "I'm really thankful to German."
Aguilar plans to major in Athletic Training while playing for the Bison.