Valley high school football teams may still have a week to go before they can hit the practice fields, but area volleyball teams officially get to work today in preparation for the 2017 season, which already begins next week.
The University Interscholastic League allows volleyball teams to issue equipment and start workouts today, and beginning Friday teams can begin participating in scrimmages. The regular-season, meanwhile, opens Monday.
One team that is eager for the new season to get underway is Harlingen South, which suffered through a rough 2016 campaign. Despite a solid start in non-district, the Lady Hawks managed only one district win, prompting Jennifer Taliancich to step down as head coach after just two seasons at the helm.
Anissa Lucio, who was head coach at Weslaco High the past couple of years, will step in as the Lady Hawks’ new leader and look to turn things around. The last time South was in the postseason was in 2011 when the Lady Green Birds advanced to the third round before falling to Los Fresnos.
HARLINGEN HIGH: The Lady Cardinals will also begin the new season with a new head coach as Joslynn Torres replaces Jennifer Martinez, who had been at HHS since 2013 and led the Lady Cards to a postseason berth in 2014. Last season the Lady Red Birds were inconsistent and, in the end, just missed out on a trip to the playoffs.
SAN BENITO: The San Benito Lady Greyhounds have qualified for the playoffs the past two straight seasons. However, their postseason journeys have been short-lived as the Lady Hounds have lost in the first round each time. Head coach Ruby Medina will look to change that this time around. The Lady Hounds open with back-to-back scrimmages this weekend before starting the regular-season next Tuesday at home in a tri-match against La Feria and Brownsville Porter.
LA FERIA: Speaking of the Lionettes, they will look to defend their District 32-4A title this season as well as try to get past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2013. While they lost quite a bit of talent from last year’s squad, longtime coach Rebea Fraga does a great job of getting her troops to step up and the rest of the league better be prepared to contend with the Lionettes.
UIL VOLLEYBALL CALENDER
Aug. 1: First day to issue equipment and conduct workouts outside the school day, all conferences. (For grades 9-12 and separate ninth grade teams on separate campuses. Students in grades 8 and below may not work out before the first day of school.)
Aug. 4: First day for scrimmages, all conferences
Aug. 7: First day for matches, all conferences.
Oct. 28: District Certification
Oct. 30-31: Bi-district round
Nov. 2-4: Area around
Nov. 6-7: Regional quarterfinals
Nov. 10-11: Regional tournament
Nov. 15-18: State tournament