UHS volleyball team seeks turnaround year

bob rasa Uvaldeans Nadia Gonzales (No. 11) and Kayla Curtis (No. 24) combine efforts in an attempt to block the shot of an opposing team’s player. The volleyball action took place last August in the Uvalde High School Gym. Last season was a learning season for the young Uvalde Lobos team. The Lobos seek a much-improved season in 2017.

Last season, the Uvalde Lobos entered high school volleyball action with a young, inexperienced varsity ball club.

As a result, the Lobos went winless in District 29-5A play and finished with a 9-31 season record overall.

“We went into last season with a young team. We lost an All-District setter to graduation and went into the season with a lot of inexperience at several positions,” said Uvalde High School head volleyball coach Jessica Campbell. “I was proud of the effort that our young kids put forth. But it was a learning experience.”

Though the Lobos lose a couple of key players from last year’s team, they return the bulk of their personnel to begin the 2017 volleyball season in August.

Because of the large number of returning lettermen from last year’s team, Coach Jessica Campbell believes this could be a much better season for Lobos volleyball.

“Our younger players gained a lot of experience last season,” said Campbell. “They learned that the pace is quicker at the varsity level. I believe they improved as the season went on.”

Several key players will be lost from the 2017 squad, including middle hitter Ale Garza, defensive specialist Mandy Sandoval, and other seniors Miranda Sosa, Sara Ramos and Vallerie Salazar.

“Losing these young ladies will be tough. They played well for us and provided much leadership in a season of transition last year,” said Campbell.

Top returning personnel include Kayla Curtis, Kate Sena, Kylie Sendejo, Nadia Gonzales and Jessica Guzman.

“These girls played a key role for us last season. I look for them to be our leaders going into this season,” said Campbell. “We also have some other young girls coming up who will help us this season.

“We have a lot of girls who are playing club volleyball, getting to touch the ball every day and working on getting better,” said Campbell.

“Our returning players need to work on multiple things, but I think most importantly they need to focus on teamwork,” said Campbell. “We need to work on being a team and on being leaders on the floor. Fundamentals are always key and so important to work on throughout the summer.”

The Lobos will face another tough pre-district schedule with action against strong area teams, including Devine, Hondo, Bandera, Del Rio and Carrizo Springs.

They will play in several tough tournaments, including Wimberley and San Angelo.

“Our schedule will be pretty much the same as last season, but the site for the games will be flipped. We will travel a little more for games this season,” said Campbell. “Bandera and Del Rio will be some big games for us. We hope to play well in those tough tournaments at Wimberley and San Angelo.”

Though the Lobos did not win a district game last season, the Lobos played competitively.

“I believe will be much more competitive this season,” said Campbell. “I like the district we are in.”

Southside and McCollum lost some players to graduation, but they both return a lot of players from last year’s team. They figure to be the preseason favorites to win the District 29-5A volleyball title in 2017.

Coach Campbell is optimistic about the coming volleyball season.

“The future for volleyball is bright. We have some really promising young athletes in our program. They are hard workers and want to succeed,” said Campbell. “They need to play club ball and to take part in our open gym program.

“I’m really looking forward to next season and the years to come,” said Campbell. “We should do much better this coming volleyball season.”

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