Lauren Briseño, a sophomore volleyball player at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, joined her teammates at their coach's house last week for what she thought was a gathering to watch bracket selection for the upcoming NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship.
The team this year included a white elephant gift exchange in the gathering, during which Briseño unwrapped a blanket.
At the last minute, an assistant coach "stole" Briseño's blanket, prompting her to choose a new gift, according to the gift exchange rules.
What Briseño ended up opening next was a box that contained a proclamation announcing her as the recipient of full scholarship from Baylor Volleyball.
Upon reading the news, Briseño started crying as she was cheered on by her teammates, who a university spokeswoman told ABC News were all in on the surprise.
Briseño, a San Antonio native, joined the team as a walk-on last year, and went onto become the only freshman who played every match for the Baylor Bears in 2021, according to a university spokeswoman.
In her sophomore season, Briseño is the team's starting libero, a key defensive position, according to the NCAA.
Briseño said in a post-match press conference Thursday night that she is still "speechless" over the surprise.
"I was not expecting it whatsoever," she said. "Lo and behold, I get this mystery box and I had no idea what it entailed and I opened it up and sure enough it's a scholarship and I just burst into tears."
Undergraduate tuition at Baylor, a four-year private university, runs upward of $50,000 per year, according to the school's website.
Briseño was awarded the full-ride scholarship by the university's volleyball coaches, who have a limited number of scholarships they can award to players, according to the Baylor spokeswoman.
"I truly was just left with so much joy," said Briseño. "I'm so grateful to be here, playing with this team, playing with these coaches and just not letting scholarship, not scholarship, not letting it define who I am as a player, but just being eternally grateful for what I have."