Lady Bulldogs ready to make waves this season

LYFORD — With volleyball season underway, second-year head coach Lisa Lancaster and her Lyford Lady Bulldogs didn’t waste any time preparing for the 2017 season as practice began on Tuesday morning.

Last season, the Lady Bulldogs finished second in District 32-3A with an overall record of 14-8 and 6-2 district mark. Both of the Lady Bulldogs’ losses last year came to eventual district champions Santa Rosa.

However, there is one difference that will be in Lyford’s favor this season: Coach Lancaster will have a little more time to prepare for the upcoming season. Last year Lancaster’s first day on the job was also the first day of volleyball practice.

“Last year I could not come out as hard as I wanted to because the kids didn’t really know me,” said Lancaster. “It’s hard to fully trust someone who is trying to rewire everything you know about volleyball. So, I took the time to teach them and talk to them the same as I would if we were in season. It was hard because coaches usually do that in the preseason.

“But at the end of last year the seniors that I had only spent four months with told my returning players that they should have trusted me sooner. Now the kids are comfortable with me and I can push them a little harder without having to spend as much time teaching.”

This year’s objective is to get the team to play their style of game and show what they are capable of.

“Our team goal is to play our game,” said Lancaster. “We know what we can do, what we’re capable of and we can’t let different skill level teams change the way we play.

“Summer league kids got used to playing against 5A/6A teams and now they need to keep that pace up during the regular season so playoffs can go the way we want this year.”

COACH’S THOUGHTS

— On senior captain Nana Duran: “Everyone looks up to her leadership. Something good always happens when she touches the ball.”

— On senior Marialy Salinas: “She is very coachable and has consistently improved every game since I’ve had her last year. She’s going to play a big roll in our team.”

— On senior Hannah Perez: “Guaranteed second hit. She’s got great hands and she is always going to do whatever she can to increase the chances of our hitters.”

— On junior Sarah Martinez: “I’m excited to have her for two more years because she is a hard worker who will always test the skills of our opponent. She’s full of energy and keeps the team working together.”