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Big 7 Volleyball Recapped

PT Photo by Joe Vela

Lady Lobos head coach wins Coach of the Year

Margo Iglesias-Cantu is her name. Volleyball is her game. Palmview high schools’ Margo Iglesias-Cantu was awarded District 30-5A Coach of the Year and it was well warranted. The Lady Lobos turned it all around this season after finishing last season in 5th place with a 5-9 record. This Lobos team went on an absolute tear, finishing this season with a district record of 13-1. This wasn’t a coincidence either. Coach Iglesias-Cantu was preparing for a massive turnaround this season and all of her hard work along with her team’s success has all led up to this point. A near perfect record, a district championship, and now Coach of the Year.

I spoke to Iglesias-Cantu about what this season has meant to her, “Everybody told me to coach basketball, but I wanted to challenge myself. I gave myself four years to change this program around. The biggest thing was changing the culture. I wanted to change the culture, the atmosphere, and get rid of all the drama. Everyone needed to work hard and whether they were the strongest or weakest player, I treated everyone the same, and from there everybody saw what I was trying to do.”

PT Photo by Joe Vela

She went on to say, “Winning Coach of the Year was amazing. It was a really great feeling, but I wasn’t even thinking about that. I just wanted those girls to win a district title so bad because that’s what we’ve been gunning for since last year when we missed the playoffs and got 5th place. There had been a burning feeling in my stomach and in my brain since last year. This year I said that we would win a district championship and everything fell into place. Everything I do is for the kids and I want them to get all the glory and accolades. For me [winning the award] was a bonus, but I did it for the kids. I thank God every day.”

The Lady Lobos made history this year by winning their very first district championship as a school and a district. All their hard work and dedication to the game they love ended up working out for them this season and we would like to congratulate Iglesias-Cantu and her girls on their success this season. We hope to see this team continue to make some noise for years to come for Palmview and the La Joya ISD.

The Lady Lobos weren’t the only ones to come out with a district championship this year however. The Sharyland Rattlers won their second consecutive district championship in District 31-5A. The Rattlers finished the season with a perfect 18-0 record. This included a winning streak that lasted 43 games. The McAllen Memorial Mustangs ended their season in the 3rd round of the playoffs by handing them their second loss of the season. The Lady Rattlers are sure to continue being great on the court and we expect for them to bring the same kind of energy next season. Congratulations to Coach Raul Castillo and his Lady Rattlers on their excellence and on winning not only the District 31-5A championship, but a Bi-district and an Area championship as well.

Sharyland Rattlers’ Kenisha Martinez continues a strong offensive against Pioneer Diamondbacks during last Tuesday’s win. Progress Times photo by Joe Vela.

After finishing last season in 3rd place with a 12-5 record, the Pioneer Lady Diamondbacks came in second to the Lady Rattlers in District 31-5A. They finished their season with a 15-3 record. The Diamondbacks were easily one of the best defensive teams in the Big 7 and in the Rio Grande Valley. While their 2023 season was cut short by the Flour Bluff Hornets in the 3rd round of the UIL state playoffs, this team has been making strides to win a district championship and this season they moved one step closer. We hope to see Coach Laura Cavazos and her girls achieve that goal in seasons to come.

The Mission Veterans Lady Patriots came off a 2022 season that saw them win the district championship once again. However, they were not able to repeat that this season. The Patriots fell to 10-4 on the season as they finished in 3rd place in District 30-5A. Their season would end with a Bi-district round loss to the Gregory-Portland Wildcats. The Patriots should still be considered one of the most dominant teams in the RGV for as long as head coach Diana Lerma is still around. A minor setback for a major comeback?

The Mission Lady Eagles had a bit of a turnaround 2023 season after finishing in 5th place with a 1-8 record last season. This season they finished in 4th place with a 4-5 record. This was the second time in five seasons that the Eagles made it to the postseason. However, they were hit with a first round exit to the San Benito Greyhounds. With a young squad under her belt, head coach Edna Clemons should be excited to see what her girls are able to do next season.

The La Joya Lady Coyotes and the Juarez-Lincoln Lady Huskies were the only Big 7 teams that missed the postseason with 0-9 and 0-14 records respectively. Fear not because there has been a massive change in culture for these two schools and for La Joya ISD in general. The Coyotes and the Huskies are on the same page as the Palmview Lobos: make history. The Lobos were able to do it and now nobody can say that it’s impossible.

This wraps up the 2023-24 season for the Big 7 Sports volleyball teams. We enjoyed every moment from the highs to the lows with our teams. Now that the offseason has begun, we hope that our teams get ready to do their best in the 2024-25 season.

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