Last season was a building season for the Uvalde High School volleyball program.
The Uvalde Lobos did not win a lot of matches, but they played competitively against most every opponent that they faced.
With the experience and confidence gained from last season, Coach Russell McElroy’s Lobos have high expectations for 2020.
“Last season was a good season for reasons other than wins and losses,” said McElroy. “We took some lumps early on, but continued to work and build.
“By the time the district season opened, our team was ready to compete in a very challenging district,” McElroy said. “Seeing the team come together to play together as one was very awesome.”
After competing for two school years in a Class 5A that included eight other schools, the Lobos will vie in new Class 4A district this season.
“Over the last two seasons, we faced schools in our district that simply were just so much larger than us,” said McElroy. “Harlan, a school from our old district, cut more players during their pre-season tryouts for volleyball than we had kids who tried out for us last season.”
Uvalde’s new volleyball district will feature only four other schools.
“The high schools in our new district have good volleyball programs,” McElroy said. “But for the first time in a long time, we will be playing high schools in our district that are closer to us in size. We hope to be more competitive.”
The Lobos will enter their new season without the services of 2020 UHS seniors Shyann Dockal, Violet Gomez, Makayla Barboza, Klara Ruiz, Tina Guedea and Nayeli Silva.
Dockal made the All-District second team, while Gomez received All-District honorable mention.
“Those girls played well for us last season and we will miss them. They left a good mark and helped to turn our program in the right direction,” McElroy said.
“We have another good group of seniors returning to lead the way for us this season, including Shelby Colvin, Gisselle Martinez, Ashtyn Leigh and Alexa Luna,” said McElroy. “They are hard-working individuals who will be major contributors to our success this season.”
Two returning players are juniors Abby Kone and Lexi Silva.
“As sophomores, they gained a lot of playing time. The experience they gained will lead to an even greater year for them as juniors,” McElroy said.
“We have other players in our program who have the potential to add strength, depth, and skill to our varsity team this season,” said McElroy.
With fewer schools in their new district, the Lobos will have more time to prepare for district play.
“Over the last two seasons, we only had a couple weeks to prepare for district. But this season we will have more time to get ready for district play,” McElroy said.
UHS’s pre-district slate next season will include Ingram, San Antonio schools Kennedy, YWLA, and Fox Tech, Eagle Pass High and Winn, Cotulla, Pleasanton, Cole and Somerset.
The Lobos will play in three tournaments, including Wimberley, Floresville and Hondo.
“Overall, I think we have a good schedule. We can look at and feel good about who were are matching up with on a weekly basis,” said McElroy. “Our pre-district schedule should prepare us for the grind of another tough district race.”
Pre-season workouts for the Lobos will begin on Aug. 3.
“We have a chance to be a good volleyball team,” McElroy said. “We took forward to the 2020 season with much anticipation.”