2011 SPORTS PREVIEW: Lady Bears return experienced team
Members of the La Vernia Lady Bear volleyball team work hard to defend their home court Aug. 16 against the Poth Pirettes.
LA VERNIA -- In 2010, the La Vernia Lady Bear volleyball team had a good run. The Lady Bears won their district, picked up an area championship, and advanced to the regional quarterfinals. But that is where it ended, and Head Coach Theresa Reyes isn’t happy about it. In fact, her main goal this year is to “get over that hump.”
This year will mark the sixth season Reyes has been at the helm in La Vernia. The Lady Bears have experienced tremendous success under Reyes, and have won the district title every year, but when they hit the playoffs, they hit the wall.
“We are in a tough region,” Reyes said. “I know that. I understand that. But we are a good team, and as soon as I can get them to quit worrying about the name on the other team’s jersey, we will be a great team!”
The passion Reyes has for Lady Bear volleyball is contagious. It’s clear to see she puts everything she has into her team, and expects them to give it back. The Lady Bears return an experienced squad for 2011, and Reyes is going to demand even more.
La Vernia lost a pair of good players in Kristin Gorzell and Chelsea Feller, but still returns 10 athletes from last year’s varsity squad. With players like Kelsey Markgraf, Natalie Baker, and Alex Cruz leading the way, Reyes has good reason to be excited this year.
“They have lots of varsity experience, and I expect them to lead this team,” Reyes said. “I’m very excited about this year. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Reyes believes her team’s experience will prove to be its greatest strength, noting they not only have extensive varsity experience, but have playoff experience, as well.
If there is a chink in La Vernia’s armor this year, it is likely to be in the Lady Bears’ serve receive game. La Vernia struggled with that last year, and Reyes believes it was nothing more than a confidence issue.
“They have to find a way to believe in themselves,” Reyes said. “I can’t do that for them. So much of this game is about preparing themselves mentally ... about knowing you can beat that other team, no matter who they are.”
When it comes to the district, Reyes believes it will be tough, but is confident the Lady Bears will once again prevail. She expects the greatest challenge to come from Yoakum and Cuero, saying, “They [Yoakum] surprised us last year, and Cuero will be tough.”
Reyes isn’t planning any major changes for this season, though she may work in some new things on offense. She said the Lady Bears “have been good at what we do,” and that they want to be sure to “focus on one game at a time.”
So, with a talented and experienced team back on the court this year, there is no telling how far the Lady Bears may go this year. If Reyes has her way, it will be all the way to the top.
“We are good enough to get to state,” Reyes said. “I just need them to understand and believe that.”