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Photo by Michael Duffy

Destiny Julye, Tehachapi volleyball

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Steve R. Fujimoto/ Visalia Times Delta

Tehachapi's Destiny Julye, pictured, hits a ball against El Diamante Thursday during the Central Section Division II girls volleyball championship match at El Diamante High School in Visalia.

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Casey Christie / The Californian

Destiny Julye of Tehachapi hits a hard shot across court Tuesday night.

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Casey Christie / The Californian

Tehachapi High's Destiny Julye makes a nice shot past Independence High's Mahalia Swink during game action Tuesday night in Tehachapi during the Division II semifinals.

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Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian

Tehachapi's Destiny Julye returns a serve to Highland in the third game.

Destiny Julye's game is all about power.

The 5-foot-10 junior outside hitter paced Tehachapi to a 32-4 season and a runner-up finish in the Central Section Division II finals.

She is the BVarsity Volleyball Player of the Year.

Here's a warning for the Warriors' opponents for next season: Julye says Tehachapi could be as good or better.

"We have six or seven players returning, a real strong base," she said. "This is a unique team with chemistry that has a lot of fun off the court."

Julye, of course, will be the focal point next season. She averaged 4.9 kills per set this season, finishing with 488 kills. Julye added 45 blocks (37 solo) and 88 digs, only two behind team leader Samantha Wallace.

"I've never seen a high school player hit the ball as hard as she does," Tehachapi coach Sheri Dees said. "She has a great vertical leap -- she's over 10 feet with her reach.

"She's smart, strong, plays the ball tactically and is a leader. She's interested in improving her own individual game, but she wants to elevate her teammates, too."

Julye has put in hard work to reach her current level. She began playing volleyball at 12 and put some time in with her older sister's club team that included girls as old as 14.

"I'd serve every ball out and my passing was not there," Julye said.

To improve, Julye started attending skills camps. She has made huge strides since her ninth-grade year.

"My freshman year, when I was playing middle (blocker), I really developed a passion for my sport," Julye said. "I wanted to get one step further than high school volleyball."

That will happen. She gave UCLA a verbal commitment on July 30.

"They want a power hitter that terminates the ball," Julye said.

Julye does more than launch vicious attacks against opponents, Dees said.

"Last year she hit it just as hard, but this year she's more mature," Dees said. "She reads the defense and reacts. She's fun to watch and very fun to coach. She's a player you won't ever forget."

Julye plays volleyball nearly year-round. She competes with the Bakersfield Volleyball Club. Her coach is Judy Rexroth, who is Independence's head coach.

In the Division II semifinals, Tehachapi faced Rexroth's Falcons and rallied from what appeared to be an insurmountable deficit to win in five sets. Independence had a 2-0 lead and was leading 13-3 in the third set before the Warriors turned things around.

"I've never had a comeback like that," Julye said. "Each of us had to pick it up 150 percent. People in the stands thought it was over."

Rexroth's presence made the comeback more special, Julye said.

"Facing her made me want to play harder," Julye said. "I just wanted to let her know what mountain ball is all about."

Tehachapi's section title hopes ended with a five-set loss to Visalia-El Diamante.

"We made so many errors," Julye said. "I still go back and watch the film."

That loss didn't detract from Tehachapi's special season, Julye said.

"It was an amazing year with all the friendships you make," she said. "That's what I loved about it."