Coach Sandra Longoria joined the Mustang staff four years ago as the Varsity women’s volleyball coach. Before her arrival it seemed the team and the program had a new coach every year. “The girls were missing consistency, said Longoria. “The program developed strength with consistency and having a the same coach at the helm.”
Like the mighty Phoenix rising from the ashes, the Mustang Lady Volleyball team is 8-4 for the season headed into the Floresville tournament. During the tournament the girls battled their rivals Holmes and lost the final set and the game by two points.
This defeat was still in the minds of the players as they started their last week of afternoon practices before the school days begin. Gizelle “GiGi” Tabares, junior; Shelby Daniel, senior; and Amber Ruiz, junior have spent the last two years playing together as varsity members. Ruiz and Daniel served as varsity members for the past three years.
Each of the girls describes this season as “a lot of fun. We have better chemistry on the team, we know each other better, and we work well on and off the court. We spend many hours together and this summer we would play volleyball together until 8 or 9 at night.”
Ruiz describes the girls as passionate and energetic. Daniel added, “We have all grown up with Longoria. She seems more encouraging this year; she is pushing us harder this year. We as a team seem more committed this year.”
The girls describe their team as being evenly matched with Holmes and Stevens. They understand to be successful and find the playoffs they are going to have to beat Clark, Brandeis, or O’Connor. “We have seen some of the other girls this summer. We have played against them in club ball. We are more competitive this year, and we are ready for the game. We are ready to earn a play off spot.”
The three girls speak of teamwork and the ability to motivate their teammates. “We are better on the court when we play together. But we must also come together off the court as well. What one player does affects the play of all of us. “
“We continue to fight,” said Longeria. “Each year we fight harder and we continue to climb. I came here four years ago. Now the girls on the court are my athletes, I have helped chose each one. They work well with each other, inside the classroom and on the court. There is an excitement in our gym this year. I am proud to be a part of the program.”
The girls are proud of the fact that all Jay Athletes receive All Academic honors at the end of the year. For the Mustangs, success is not just digging the ball over the net, but acing their course work and receiving a diploma.
Additionally this year all high schools inside Northside are participating in community service programs to give back to their community. The Lady Mustangs spent time off the court with the new members of the Jay faculty providing them with tours, insight to traditions, and answering any questions they may have had.
As I turn to exit, I watch smiling faces running through the drills, for those who make a mistake the coach never says a word, the girl drops to the floor and starts her pushups. Just as the Phoenix left the ashes, Jay Mustang Volleyball is writing their own history.