As two of three teams in the league that gained wins during Week One, Vela and Econ now advance forward to see if they can keep the roll going.
The SaberCats went out to Laredo to defeat Nixon handily, 34-13, after their initial tilt against Victoria East was cancelled due to the hurricane. Next up is a difficult home battle Thursday with an Edcouch-Elsa outfit that handled Los Fresnos last week. The Yellowjackets went three deep in 2016 and have a young but talented squad after ample graduation losses. The game marks a chance at redemption for Vela, whose only non-district debit a year ago came versus E-E at the Black Hole in the last second of the night.
The Jags meanwhile go up against Palmview at home Friday, and the Lobos, like Edcouch, were playoff combatants in 2016. They beat Roma to start the latest season, in overtime.
The other city action ahead has EHS traveling to Brownsville to take on Lopez Thursday, and North at Sharyland Friday.
ROUGH PATCH AS LOCAL NETTERS HEAD FOR DISTRICT
One has to imagine that gradually, the city volley teams will come around and be a real factor in the league race, which begins soon. For now, however, the crew has compiled one of its least successful aggregate records in recent memory, punctuated by a series of recent defeats.
Tuesday, Vela was beaten by Rowe and EHS went down to McAllen Memorial, but keep in mind that those two opponents are in the top 5 in the Valley. North was swept by Brownsville Vets and Econ lost at Weslaco to a Pantherette team it defeated earlier in the season.
Part of the reason for the middling performance of the city group has to do with scheduling as all four have gone against the best in the area consistently during the preseason. Case in point, all six of the Lady Bobcats’ losses before the weekend have come versus playoff-caliber outfits. Same for North (6-13), as the Lady Coogs have not lost to a sub-.500 club yet. Of the Vela setbacks, same thing, with Rowe, Memorial and McAllen accounting for five debits, San Benito, Rivera, and Los Fresnos counting four more losses.
Area coaches suggest that there is no other way to get ready for the 31-6A fight than by taking on top-flight teams, and using the tough musters to ask and answer questions, while making adjustments in personnel and game plan. This is certainly the case for Econ, working with a slew of newcomers after ample graduation losses; the team has managed wins over Weslaco, Juarez-Lincoln, and Palmview amid a streak of defeats to such luminaries as Rivera, Sharyland, Mercedes, and McHigh.
As for the rest of the league, P-SJ-A Memorial is expected to be in the running for the title after an 11-7 preseason mark, while Pharr North has been solid at 10-7. Southwest has been a surprise so far with wins in 13 of 16 contests, though the Lady Javelina strength-of-schedule is spotty overall. The Lady Bears of P-SJ-A are just 7-12 heading into league activity.
The Lady Coogs have done well against upcoming league foes, beating Pharr North twice and also topping P-SJ-A while Econ was taken by Pharr North earlier in the slate. Vela, which defeated North in tourney play, will take on the Lady Coogs to start off district. But the Lady Sabes are working through a deficit in back after outstanding libero Dylann Guerra transferred to McAllen Memorial toward the end of the summer. Her loss marks the third such exodus in the past two seasons, following the departure of two North athletes to the McAllen area before the 2016 season commenced.
The weekend action had EHS going 1-2 at the Labor Day Invitational in McAllen, beating Rivera after losses to eventual champ Rowe and Los Fresnos. Vela scored a solid win over Mercedes and Econ dropped a road game at Palmview. At that McAllen tourney the P-SJ-A Memorial girls defeated Rivera and McAllen Memorial before falling in the title tilt against Rowe.