Raymondville — The Raymondville Lady Bearkats volleyball team might be off to a hot start, however the duo of Claudia Mesa and Iscela Bazaldua are an integral piece of that success.
Today the Lady ‘Kats look to extend their unbeaten run against a tough La Feria Lionettes squad who are also on a nice streak of their own.
The Valley Morning Star had a chance to ask the pair some questions and get to know them a little better.
Q: What’s the team’s mood heading into this today’s big game against La Feria?
CLAUDIA: We are remaining focused on what lies ahead. We have to take one set at a time and continue to work as a team. We understand that La Feria is a strong team, but so are we. We have been preparing for this game, along with the others, but this is an important game that we want to win.
Q: At the end of last season it came down to Raymondville and La Feria for the district title, how much of that loss still lingers in the team’s mind? How much has the team grown since that game?
CLAUDIA: At the end of the season, it was a hard loss for the district title. From last year, we have lost the majority of our starters as they were seniors, however this season we have gained such talented players. We have learned to put last years season behind us and completely start from scratch. This season we have grown tremendously for a team who had to start over from last year. We have come together and continue to learn from our mistakes to fix them.
Q: What kind of pregame ritual do you go through before a match? Any special routines or superstitions?
CLAUDIA: Last year I had a routine with one of my teammates who graduated last year. it consisted of singing a part of a song and jumping as high as we could. Because of the great season we had last year, I still do the same routine this year, but alone due to my teammate graduating.
Q: Who has impacted you in your volleyball career the most?
CLAUDIA: The person who has impacted me the most in my volleyball career has to be my sister. She played the game and was also a setter. When I was a little girl, I admired watching her play and being successful. Being able to play now, only wants to make me be like her and make her proud.
Q: The team is off to a hot start to the 2017 32-4A District season, what is the team using for motivation this season?
ISCELA: The motivation we have is from last year, we made it so close to having the district title last year and this year we want it just as much. We go into every game like if it’s our last and play our hearts out every second of the game.
Q: What are some of the goals the team has set for the season?
ISCELA: To play as one, to play as a team. When we get knocked down get back up stronger, play the game until the last point.
Q: What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome to get to where you’re at?
ISCELA: My biggest obstacle I’ve had being a 3 year letterman was not giving up even when the situation is the worst. When being doubted to keep my head up and keep playing the game cause I’m not hurting myself but I’ll also be hurting the team who believes in me.
Q: How did you start playing volleyball, and what do you love about it?
ISCELA: As a small girl I never truly knew the game of volleyball,but I started as a Varsity manager for coach Rodriguez, our head coach when I was in 7th grade. I went to every tournament with her team watching her girls kill every ball the excitement they had got me so exited for freshman year to prove to her that I wanted to be on that varsity team. Entering freshman year Coach Felix Silva helped me learn the skills I needed to be ready for the Varsity level the following year, because that was my goal. I have to thank Coach Rodriguez for helping me fall in love with sport. She pushed me to do my best every game. I love the energy rush I get when I get that one good hit ,and see the excitement in peoples faces. That what makes me the love this sport more and more each day.