Lady Eagles getting better
By Jason McDaniel
The haves and the have-nots in volleyball are separated by the number of club players on the team, and Pasadena has fallen into the former category for most of its history.
That could finally be changing.
Fourth-year coach Lynn Perry says more and more of her players are playing for club teams, allowing them to further hone the skill they'll need to compete in district for a playoff spot this season.
Each year that I've been there they've gotten a little bit better," Perry said. I've gotten them involved in playing some club volleyball and this particular varsity group will be in its second year playing club."
Seniors Mina Tobias and Alaina Reyes are prime examples of the newly inspired Lady Eagles players. Both played in a prestigious summer volleyball tournament in Honolulu, Hawaii, with a little help.
That was a good experience because they didn't have the money so they raised it themselves, did whatever they had to do to get there," Perry said.
Pasadena went just 2-12 in District 22-5A last season, but Perry says she continues to see growth and believes that her players' dedication will start to show itself in on-field results this season.
And, as has been well-documented, every Pasadena ISD team has reason to fill good about its chances of making the playoffs.
With the latest UIL realignment, 22-5A went from eight teams to six, and the two that left Pearland and La Porte were playoff qualifiers last season. That leaves two spots open for new participants.
We have a legitimate shot of being in the playoffs this year," Perry said. Four out of the six go and we've definitely put in the time and the work, so there's no reason why we shouldn't be one of those top four teams."
Improved height will help the Lady Eagles in their playoff hunt.
Perry says seven out of the 10 players she's currently eyeing for a spot on the varsity roster are 5-foot-8 or taller, a rarity at Pasadena, and pretty much throughout the school district.
The squad also has plenty of talent coming back after losing only three seniors to graduation: Candace Riojas, Autumn Harris and Cheveon Owens. It will feature six returners and seven total seniors.
Reyes, an outside hitter
middle blocker, and Tobias lead the way.
Reyes is a much-improved player who Perry expects to play all the way around this season because of her newfound defensive prowess. Tobias also can play multiple positions and probably will.
(Tobias) is a hard worker," Perry said. She works hard in practice, in the offseason, and she's an all-around player.
She'll go all the way around for me."
Also returning are seniors setter Cecily Medina, who ran the squad's 5-1 offense last season, and MB Rebecca Bucio.
Perry expects a big boost from the junior varsity class, which includes 5-10 juniors Brianna Ledezma and Estefanie Juarez, who will play somewhere on the front line, and defensive standouts Jazmin Dozal, Karen Angeles and Sandy Manrique.
If they just play together it's going to be a pretty strong group," Perry said.
Considering most of the players on this season's team have been playing together for a while, that shouldn't be a problem. They already have a tight bond and close familiarity with each other's games.
Now it's just a matter of putting all together.
That process begins Aug. 2 with the first day of practice. The Lady Eagles scrimmage Aug. 6 and 7 before opening the season Aug. 10.
I'm excited. I'm ready to get started with them," Perry said. I haven't been able to work with them (this summer) but they've done everything that I've asked them to do for the past two years as far as being dedicated and playing more, so I'm ready."
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