Port Isabel Lady Tarpons heading into playoffs with momentum

RIO HONDO — The Port Isabel Lady Tarpons are going into the Class 4A volleyball playoffs with some momentum after winning Monday’s District 32-4A finale.

The Lady Tarpons defeated Rio Hondo 25-16, 25-15, 17-25, 25-16 on the Lady Bobcats’ court to secure third place in 32-4A with an 8-6 record.

A Rio Hondo win would have created a tie for third place in district with each team at 7-7. But the Lady Bobcats now instead finish at 6-8 and must find out results of Monday’s other 32-4A matches to see if they wind up in a tie for fourth place.

La Feria defeated Raymondville 25-16, 18-25, 25-14, 25-18 in Raymondville on Monday to claim the 32-4A championship. Raymondville finishes as the 32-4A runner-up.

Bi-district playoffs are on tap for Oct. 30 or Oct. 31. The Lady Tarpons will go against the runner-up finisher from District 31-4A.

“We came out strong and our one goal tonight was to win,” said Port Isabel’s Olivia Soliz, a 5-foot-11 senior middle blocker who again led her team with double-digit kills and several blocks. “We put it all in God’s hands. We pushed for it and we worked together for it.

“It all started in practice,” Soliz added. “We’ve been working hard since we found out we were fighting for third place. We came out with the win and we’re just blessed to have it.”

This will be the fourth trip to the playoffs for the Lady Tarpons in the five years Julie Breedlove has been their coach. After missing the playoffs a year ago, it was a big priority for the team to return to the postseason.

“We came out strong in Games 1 and 2, lost a little focus in Game 3, but we came back in Game 4,” Breedlove said. “That’s what we need to do. It was exciting to see our girls come back in the fourth game and really focus, get down to business and do the things we needed to do.

“We had a lot of communication and hustle to the ball,” Breedlove added. “The girls were really leaning on each other, working for each other and just taking care of each other. They had each other’s backs.

“It was a goal for us to get back to the playoffs, so we’re excited about that. These girls have really worked hard for this.”