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As the state’s No. 1 and the nation’s No. 14 ranked volleyball team, the Veterans Memorial High School (VMHS) Lady Patriots Tuesday took the first of six steps to bring a state championship home to VMHS for the first time in school history. That first step was winning their opening round playoff game against Corpus Christi Moody Tuesday evening.
Step 2 will be their area round game against the Victoria West Lady Warriors at Bishop High School tomorrow. The game time was not available as of press time.
With the straight sets win against Moody, the Lady Patriots improved their overall record this season to 40-0. Having won all but two of those games in straight sets is one indicator of how dominant Coach Diana Lerma’s squad has been all season. Another is that several of those wins were against 5A teams, including their 25-11, 25-16 and 25-23 warm-up game victory over the 15-1 Los Fresnos Lady Falcons last Saturday.
Lerma chose to schedule a game against one of the top 5A teams in the Valley even though a loss could’ve affected their rankings, to prove what she has believed about her Lady Patriots all season long.
“We’ve always felt that we’re the number one team, not only in 4A but in 5A too, and we feel that we have proven that by beating every 5A team we’ve gone up against in preseason tournaments and now against Los Fresnos,” explained Lerma. “I keep telling my girls that their goals are to keep the opponents under 15 points and keep them under three games. I was proud of the fact that they were able to do that again today.”
“Los Fresnos always has a good program so we wanted to be challenged by a 5A school,” added Lerma. “It was an opportunity for us to see if we could be booted out just like that in the state playoffs. We understand that only the strong will survive in the playoffs.”
As for their 25-17, 25-8 and 25-9 bi-district playoff win over Moody, Lerma was somewhat surprised by how few points the Trojans were putting up on the board.
“The first game is when the other team will give us their best and their all,” explained Lerma. “You’re still testing the waters out, but the second game came and I thought that we were going to hold them to less than five points. Our goal is always to keep our opponents under 15, but when we had them down 19-4, I changed my goal to try to keep them under five.”
As for what has made the difference in the Lady Patriots’ incredible success this season, Lerma credits it to her girls’ willingness to sacrifice and to all the hard work they’ve put in ever since their area round loss last year.
“Eight of our girls played all summer long,” shared Lerma. “They and their families sacrificed going on vacations in order to let them keep playing and working on their game.”
Laredo United Upsets Sharyland
As District 30-5A champs the Sharyland Lady Rattlers were not supposed to lose to a fourth place Laredo United team Tuesday evening – especially not at home. Maybe somebody should’ve told the Lady Longhorns, since they apparently did not know.
Early on, all went as expected for the Lady Rattlers as Coach Laura Cavazos’ squad outscored United 25-18. The home fans were cheering with every point and all seemed well in Sharyland. However, it didn’t take long for United to quiet the home crowd and give their fans something to make them glad they made the long drive to Sharyland.
The Lady Longhorns’ 25-21 win in the second set and 25-16 win in the third were the beginning of the end of the Lady Rattlers’ otherwise extremely successful season as United went on to take the fifth and deciding set by a score of 15-9 after having lost the fourth 23-25.
What went wrong Tuesday evening? Cavazos credits her team’s devastating loss to too many errors and to United’s outstanding play.
“I’m really proud of the girls,” shared the Lady Rattlers’ second year coach. “They kept fighting and it was tough five-game match but I thought that United played phenomenally. We had a lot of energy tonight and I’m so appreciative of the way the community came out for this game to give us a great home crowd. We tried using it in our favor, but things didn’t go our way.”
“We made more errors than they did. I’m not going to say that we didn’t, but again I’m really proud of our girls and I’m really proud of our fight,” added Cavazos. ”Looking back at this season I’m really proud of the way we built this team and while we didn’t start off strong we did finish strong even if this is not the way we wanted to go out.”
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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.