QUINCY -- Eanna DeGuzman believed she had to make a good first impression during the Quincy High School volleyball team's summer workouts.
"I knew I had to work hard, because you don't earn your spot by just knowing people," DeGuzman said. "It's how you present yourself on the court and how hard you work."
Having Tiffaney Rains entering her first season as the Blue Devils' coach proved to be a benefit. Rains didn't know any of the players in the program before taking the coaching job in March.
She had no idea DeGuzman was in her first year at QHS. She also didn't know DeGuzman had been homeschooled since the sixth grade and decided to enroll at QHS for her senior year.
"All these girls were new to me, so it was probably ideal for (DeGuzman)," Rains said. "She felt like she was on the same playing field as everyone else."
None of DeGuzman's past mattered when Rains watched her play. DeGuzman not only landed a spot on the roster but now is the starting libero for the Blue Devils.
"The way she plays, she reads the game and knows the game really, really well," Rains said.
DeGuzman attended St. James Lutheran in Quincy for her elementary schooling. Her older brother, Ethan, began homeschooling when she started the sixth grade, and she wanted to join him.
She also was introduced that year to volleyball through the Quincy Home School teams, and she eventually joined club volleyball teams like the Quincy Bruisers and QU Elite and met future QHS teammates Hannah Beeler and Emma Sparrow. DeGuzman even took a biomedical class at QHS last year with Beeler.
Her bonds grew with those players, and they were thrilled when they learned DeGuzman was enrolling at QHS.
"I know what she can do, and I knew what she could bring to our team," Beeler said. "She knew most of us really well. She fits and does her job and brings us energy."
After six years of volleyball experience, trying out for the Blue Devils was an easy decision for DeGuzman. The transition was seamless, too.
"When I'm playing volleyball, I'm in my zone," she said. "You want to win, and the team wants to win, so you have to mesh really well right away."
Her play from the back row has brought immediate results. DeGuzman helped guide the Blue Devils to their first QHS Early Bird Tournament title since 2012 and was named to the all-tournament team. She had a season-high 26 digs in QHS's Western Big Six Conference-opening victory over Galesburg.
It's a pleasant change for DeGuzman, a hitter on her club teams. Her move to libero helped fill a void left by Kailey Owsley's graduation last season.
"It's been smooth," she said. "I know most of the girls on the team. The biggest thing was my position change from hitter to libero, but I love playing libero, and I've adjusted really well."
DeGuzman also had to adjust to the level of play.
"There's a difference, because you'd only play other homeschool teams," she said. "Here, you're playing against bigger and more competitive teams. Yeah, in homeschool, we had national tournaments and stuff, but here it's more competitive."
Her play is welcomed.
"The only sad part is I only get her for a year," Rains said. "I sometimes look at her and go, ‘Why do you have to be a senior?' But it's good for her to experience this and be a part of this group."