Sizing up the upcoming volleyball season by watching the summer league can be a tricky wicket, for a number of reasons. After all, it’s only summer, and one never knows how many girls from each team will be able to make the particular game in question.
But on the other hand, June is generally a decent gauge on some basic elements for each unit, and thus, last week’s action can tell us certain things, as long as we do not read too much into an individual result here and there.
For instance, EHS bested Vela to start the schedule, and that makes some sense, given the fact that the Lady Bobcats – despite missing graduated whiz Dezi Marmolejo and softball star Amber Reyes – have talent back on hand. That would include strong and familiar frontliners Tianna Howard and Nat Martinez, with agile Maria Reyes also returning for another season along with setter Renee Ponce.
The Lady SaberCats, meanwhile, were hard hit by the graduation festivities and now face the task of the post-Jaida Muhammad Era with only two starters in the fold for 2017. Luckily, they are fine ones, in leaper Bianca Cortez and veteran libero Dylann Guerra.
Now the drill for Vela is to see which of its many promising prospects can make the grade the quickest. The program has anywhere from 10 to 12 outstanding youngsters, some of whom might be ready to go – such as Glynis Maldonado – and others who may require a season in the minors before hitting the main stage. Vela outlasted Pharr North in three sets Wednesday, by the way.
Econ and North, two teams looking to rebound from non-playoff years, could be able to do so if the week’s work is any indication. The Lady Coogs played the Lady Jags Wednesday, after each suffered a loss in the first match of the season. North prevailed in three, but not before the East Side gals made a solid account of themselves by taking Game Two in resounding fashion.
The leader of the new Orange pack was senior Norma Castillo, who played some last year and played a ton of good volleyball against North. She rose to kill, ranged the court well, and the 2017 Lady Jags will have some size all around with five kids standing 5-7 or better.
After three seasons of silky sets from Lulu Zarzoza, the team heads forward seeking a new firestarter now, and it might end up being Johana Aguirre, who did well against North and seemed patient with the flow of the game.
North has more experience now, after a rough 2016 season, with several roster members having been there before. The top ones, right now, appear to be versatile Nat Rodriguez, hard-hitting Amber Dreyer, and steady setter Amanda Cavazos. The frontline also includes Brittany Keller while libero Brenda Rios brings varsity minutes to the mix.
In essence, with the disclaimer on predictions duly noted, the nascent handicap list has EHS on top in town and Vela a solid second, with North and Econ hoping to enter the picture once the summer is done and the time for the Real McCoy comes around.