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In a District 30-5A matchup at La Joya High School gymnasium Tuesday evening, the Lady Coyotes brought their A game with them as they swept the Lady Lobos of Palmview High School in three sets 25-16, 25-10 and 25-18.
The Lady Coyotes were led by seniors Yisel Valdez (10 assists) and Lauren Moreno (7 kills and 9 digs) and junior Melissa Cienega (4 kills and 1 stuff). The Lady Lobos were led by Amber Garza (4 aces, 5 digs and 12 assists), Gabriela Rodriguez (6 digs and 3 kills) and Abigail Hernandez (4 kills and 1 dig).
With only nine players on his team’s roster this year, Lady Lobos’ head coach Michael Ramirez feels as if he’s having deja vu all over again.
“The numbers are something that I’ve had to deal with all five years that I’ve been here,” said Ramirez. “It’s been a major concern for us all five years. Finally this year we got a good freshmen crop with the numbers but until they come up it’s something that we have to deal with. We can only work with the players we have.”
Senior Gaby Rodriguez plays middle and outside hitter for Palmview. As a four-year member of the varsity squad, she’s been dealing with a shortage of girls coming out for the Lady Lobos’ volleyball team ever since her freshman year.
“We don’t get enough girls to come out for the team so we have to struggle because there are not enough people cheering for us. That makes it hard for us to be there for each other and pump each other up when we’re down,” said Rodriguez.
Even so, Rodriguez did notice more fans in the stands for Tuesday’s game than usual.
“Whenever we play a sister school like La Joya, there’s always going to be a lot of people in the stands,” said Rodriguez.
Even with his team’s winless district record so far this year, Coach Ramirez believes in focusing on the positive.
“We always try to look at the positive,” said Ramirez. “We try to find a few good points here and there and the fact that we played them close in the third set is something that we can try to carry into tomorrow’s practice and we’ll see where it goes from there.”
Lady Coyotes’ head coach Lyrissa Molina had plenty of positives to take from Tuesday night’s victory.
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“I am 100 percent satisfied,” said Molina. “The main aspect of it was that every single player contributed. Every one of my 14 players that were able to play did their part and helped us to reach our common goal. Our team goal, and my girls write this in their volleyball journals every day, is to be better than the last time that we stepped onto the court.”
La Joya outside hitter Lauren Moreno, who is in her fourth year on the Lady Coyotes varsity squad, readily admits that her success depend on her teammates.
“I got a lot of kills, but if it wasn’t for my team and the good sets I wouldn’t have had any,” said Moreno.
As the Lady Coyotes prepare for the second round of district play, Moreno is ready to have a better second half of the season than they’ve had so far in the first.
“We’re looking forward to beating everybody that we could’ve beat in the first round,” said Moreno.
Moreno’s teammate Amanda Flores took pride in how the whole team performed.
“We all got to go in and we all had our share on the court,” said Flores. “Whenever I was on the court I put my heart into it. Our whole team played with their heart and I’m proud of that.”
Lady Coyotes’ middle blocker Melissa Cienega appreciated the fans support on Tuesday.
“I think it makes us all feel motivated and gets us pumped up for the game when the fans show up,” said Cienega.
La Joya libero Sairy Cortes echoed the same sentiments her teammates expressed when asked if playing against a sister school such as Palmview was a motivating factor for the Lady Coyotes.
“It really doesn’t matter who we’re playing. We just go out there and try to reach our goals for the day,” said Cortes.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.