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MISSION - The Upper Valley’s Big 6 volleyball season hasn’t given too many surprises, with the exception of Mission Veterans Memorial, and it seems every week that 12-year Lady Patriots head coach Diana Lerma walks onto the court, there’s a new surprise.
This week Lerma learned that her Lady Patriots were ranked No. 16 in the nation by MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Volleyball rankings after stringing together five straight weeks as No. 1 in the Texas Girls Coaches Association state rankings.
“These girls are going one game at a time,” Lerma said. “We’ve all got goosebumps. Now the expectations and communication among the girls is to step it up a notch.”
Mission Veterans continued its first-half dominance of the District 32-4A season with a straight set 25-12, 25-11, 25-13 victory over Mercedes on Tuesday and improved to 30-0 overall and 9-0 in district.
Shania Gilpin and Gabby Lerma lead the Lady Patriots in kills with 382 and 283, respectively. Gilpin also has 54 aces and 32 solo blocks, while Lerma leads with 335 digs. Leading the team in assists is D.D. Ibarra with 353 and Kassy López with 333.
Mission Veterans has key away games at Edcouch-Elsa on Oct. 8 and at Roma on Oct. 15.
In 5A volleyball, Sharyland is trying to live up to last season’s accomplishments and reach its full potential in the first half of District 30-5A play. The Lady Rattlers closed out the opening part of the district season on Sept. 28 with a 25-19, 21-25, 28-26, 29-27 win over Edinburg Vela to improve to 21-10 overall and 7-1 in district.
“The first part of our season has been devoted to finding the right chemistry and getting to know each other's strengths and weaknesses,” said Sharyland head coach Laura Cavazos. “It's a different team from last year. Along with our youth, we have a lot of talent and can diversify our game both offensively and defensively. That’s a great thing to have, it makes our gym very competitive.”
Sharyland had an open date on Tuesday and will open the second half of district at home against La Joya on Saturday at 12 p.m. The Lady Rattlers will have key rematches against Edinburg North on Oct. 26 at home and away at Edinburg Vela on Oct. 29. North defeated Sharyland 3 sets to 1 on Sept. 24.
La Joya Schools, MHS
In La Joya, all three area teams are working on rebuilding their programs.
La Joya has had the most success of the trio, posting a 16-12 overall record with a 2-6 mark in 30-5A under head coach Lyrissa Molina.
La Joya Palmview is breaking in first-year head coach Raul Castillo. The Lady Lobos are 3-23 overall and 1-8 in district. La Joya Juárez-Lincoln rounds out the contingent, also at 1-8.
Back in 32-4A, Mission is hanging on and fighting for one of the playoff spots with Roma and Edcouch, while Mercedes is nipping at their heels.
Coach Edna Clemons’ Lady Eagles are coming off a 25-12, 25-7, 25-19 win over Valley View on Tuesday to improve to 17-12 overall and 5-3 in district.
Her daughter, Cassie, leads Mission with 372 kills and 20 ace serves, while Sara Stubbs has contributed 439 assists and Kazzandra Rodríguez has 398 digs.
The Lady Eagles host Edcouch on Saturday at 1 p.m. and take on Roma in a home match on Oct. 12.
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