By JENELYN RUSSO     11/22/2015

With a father who grew up playing volleyball and an older sister who played as well, it didn’t take long for Jane Horner to decide to step onto the court for herself.

“I started playing volleyball when I was in fifth grade,” says Horner. “I always liked playing on the beach with my family… I was inspired by [my sister] and I enjoyed going to her tournaments. I just really liked watching volleyball and playing it, so I decided to start.”

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A senior at Santa Margarita Catholic High School, Horner plays libero for the Eagles, a defensive specialist position that draws on her strengths.

“The libero is always on the court, and it’s also a very competitive position,” says Horner. “You’re controlling over the back row, and you serve as a leader to your teammates.”

Beyond her leadership position on the court, the three-year varsity player serves as the team’s captain, a role that has forced Horner to stretch and grow as she leads her fellow Eagles.

“Being in the role of captain for Santa Margarita has definitely challenged me this year,” says Horner. “It’s quite a job to make the team chemistry flow on the court.”

The Eagles recently secured the 2015 Trinity League Championship, finishing the year at 30-3 overall and 7-1 in Trinity League play. The head varsity girls’ volleyball coach at Santa Margarita, Katy Daly, believes that Horner is a big reason behind the team’s back-to-back league titles.

“Jane is a huge contributor to our success,” says Daly. “Her natural ability to lead on and off the court shows every day. She loves this game and plays with great intensity. She is one of the strongest liberos I have coached, and it’s been fun watching her grow into such a great player.”

Competition doesn’t end for Horner when the volleyball season ends. The 17-year-old also competes in track and field for the Eagles each spring in the triple jump and the long jump, as well as the school’s sand volleyball team, an experience Horner feels makes her a better indoor player.

Off the court, Horner serves her campus through clubs such as Stand Up To Cancer and the Red Cross Club. She also is Santa Margarita’s Athletic Commissioner, where it is her role to promote and support all sports school-wide.

The Mission Viejo resident will be heading east next fall to continue her volleyball career for the University of Virginia Cavaliers, where she plans to study either business or sports law. Horner is excited about the new experiences ahead of her and credits volleyball for creating that opportunity.

“I think the game of volleyball has taught me many things,” says Horner, “mostly interactions with people… But mainly, I think, it’s taught me how to be a competitor. It’s made me into the competitive person I am today.”