Raised in Gilroy, California, Melissa Avila attended Gilroy High School where she played volleyball year round. She was a three time First-Team All Tri-County Athletic League member. Upon graduation, Avila attended Gavilan Community College where she was a 2 year starter. During her time at Gavilan, she was two time First-Team All-Coast Conference. She earned her Associate of Art degree in general business.
After graduation, she continued her education and playing career at Dickinson State University where she was a 2 year starter and team MVP. After her senior season, Avila stayed on as a student assistant coach. She graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science and minor in business and coaching.
She then continued her education at Hastings College in Nebraska, where she was a Graduate Assistant for two seasons while completing her Masters. During her 2 seasons as graduate assistant, the team made the post season both years and won the 2016 NAIA National Championship, the first in program history. She had the privilege of coaching 3 All-Americans, the 2016 National Tournament MVP, and 2016 National Libero of the Year. She earned her Master of Art degree in secondary physical education and coaching.