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Volleyball races heating up

Five Big 7 teams in the hunt

With less than two weeks remaining in the high school volleyball regular seasons, things are really heating up in all three of the districts the seven teams from the Mission, Sharyland and La Joya ISDs, the Big 7, are members of; 31-6A (Mission, La Joya and Juarez-Lincoln), 30-5A (Mission Veterans and Palmview) and 31-5A (Sharyland and Pioneer). And with all but two of the Big 7 teams vying for either district championships and/or playoff berths, there’s plenty riding on the outcomes of the remaining games for the players, coaches and fans of the five teams that are looking to extend their seasons into the UIL state playoffs.

So which Big 7 teams have clinched playoff berths, which are in the hunt and which have already been eliminated? We’ll be answering that question by taking a look here at the standings in the three aforementioned districts through Tuesday night’s games. We’ll also be taking a look at the remaining games in each of the contending Big 7 teams’ schedules.

District 31-6A

This district is home to three Big 7 teams. Unfortunately, two of those teams have been eliminated from playoff contention and the third pretty much needs to win-out and have one of the teams ahead of them lose out, in order to even have a chance of securing one of the district’s four playoff spots.

As of today, PSJA High is sitting atop the 31-6A standings with an 11-1 record. Nipping at the Lady Bears’ heels is Edinburg High at 11-2 while Edinburg Vela and Edinburg North are tied for third place in the district with identical 9-3 records.

If the regular season ended today, these are the four teams that would represent 31-6A in the playoffs. Fortunately for the Mission High Lady Eagles, the defending district champions, there are still three games remaining on their schedule. Therefore even though they are currently in fifth place at 6-7, they are still mathematically alive for the playoffs. The three games remaining on the Lady Eagles’ schedule are 3-9 Edinburg Economedes, Vela and 4-7 PSJA North.

At 1-10 and 0-12 respectively, the La Joya Lady Coyotes and the Juarez-Lincoln Lady Huskies have nothing more to play for but pride and experience for next year.

District 30-5A

The fact that the Mission Veterans Lady Patriots are sitting atop this district with a 6-0 record should not come as a surprise to anybody. After all, the Lady Patriots have dominated district play for nearly as many years as Mission Veterans High School has been in existence.

The 6-0 Mission Veterans Lady Patriots and the 2-4 Palmview Lady Lobos are two of the five Big 7 volleyball teams that remain in the hunt for a playoff spot with less than two weeks remaining in district play. Progress Times photo by Mario Magallon.

The fact that there are only six teams in this district means that all but two will soon be participating in postseason play. As of today, the three teams at the bottom of the standings, and therefore with the highest risk of being eliminated from playoff contention at the end of district play, are 2-4 Palmview, 1-5 Laredo Cigarroa and 1-5 Rio Grande City. The Lady Lobos have four games remaining on their schedule, Rio Grande; Cigarroa, Laredo Martin and 3-3 Roma.

With Laredo Martin at 5-1, the Lady Tigers are still in position to grab at least a share of the district title should they defeat the Lady Patriots in Laredo Tuesday. The first time these two teams met in district play, the Lady Patriots won in four extremely close sets; 25-21, 22-25, 25-23 and 26-24. With such close scores in all four sets, a Martin victory over Mission Vets this time around is definite possibility. As would a co-championship for these two teams should Martin emerge victorious against Vets this time around.

Other than Martin, the Lady Patriots remaining games are against Roma, Rio Grande and Cigarroa.

District 31-5A

This district is made up of the three McAllen teams, both Sharyland teams, both PSJA teams and Valley View.

Pioneer’s senior outside hitter Lorelai Hill is leading the 9-1 Lady Diamondbacks in kills (272), kill percentage (46%), attack attempts (591) and hit percentage (33.5%) this season. Progress Times photo by Luciano Guerra.

That’s a total of eight teams vying for four playoff spots. As of today, the Pioneer Lady Diamondbacks and the McAllen Memorial Lady Mustangs are tied atop the standings with identical 9-1 records. Nikki Rowe at 7-3 and McAllen High at 6-4 are in third and fourth places respectively.

Of the four teams currently in the bottom half of the standings, the 5-5 Sharyland Lady Rattlers are in the best position to make a move into the top four before the end of district play. PSJA Memorial at 3-7 may still be mathematically alive for the playoffs, but 1-9 PSJA Southwest and 0-10 Valley View have already been eliminated from playoff contention.

If the Lady Rattlers are going to secure a playoff berth by overtaking one of the teams currently above them in the standings, they will most likely need to win at least three of their four remaining games. The good news for Sharyland is that they have PSJA Memorial and PSJA Southwest, two teams in the bottom four of the standings, remaining on their schedule. The bad news is that they have Pioneer and McAllen High, two teams in the top four of the standings, on their schedule as well.

As for the Lady Diamondbacks, they have Nikki Rowe, Sharyland, PSJA Memorial and McAllen Memorial remaining on their schedule. While the district finale against the Lady Mustangs could very well determine the district championship, tomorrow’s game against Rowe is significant as well. That’s because it was the Lady Warriors that handed the Lady Diamondbacks their only loss of district play thus far this season.

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