Lady Hawks open 2016 season on Tuesday vs Edinburg & Mercedes

HARLINGEN — Monday was officially the first day of practice for the Harlingen South Lady Hawks volleyball team.

The Lady Hawks started with some light conditioning before hitting court. But with just four days of practice before scrimmages began, Harlingen South will be looking to find an identity before the 2016 season begins already on Tuesday.

While the Lady Hawks have 10 seniors on their roster this season, three key players from last season’s squad have left and this year’s team will be an almost unrecognizable one.

Gone are starters Adrianna Espinoza and Christina Montez, who both graduated in June, as well as star Lexi Kruse, who transferred to McAllen Memorial High School.

Nevertheless, the team will get a boost from returning starters Allyson Benavides, Vanessa Santillan, Sienna Sierra, JasminGallegos and Ashley Reyna.

The heart of what second-year head coach Jennifer Taliancich is calling a “determined” bunch.”

“I would say this team is determined,” said Taliancich. “Having a big group of seniors, these girls are working their hardest to reach their goal, which is to do well in district and make it to the playoffs.”

This season the Lady Hawks will once again begin their season in a tri-match against Edinburg and Mercedes on Tuesday. The games will be played at Mercedes High School at 4:30 p.m. and at 6 p.m.

Afterward, the team will play in three tournaments (Donna, Port Isabel tournament, Laredo United) before beginning District 32-6A action against Harlingen at home on Sept. 10 at 3 p.m.

“Teamwork and mental toughness are key for us to be successful this season,” said Taliancich. “As a team of seniors, I expect lots of leadership and communication on the court. They did well in their summer leagues and now they need to carry that into our season.”