Lady Hounds primed for long postseason run

SAN BENITO — The San Benito Lady Greyhounds are hoping fortune is in their favor when the playoffs kick off Tuesday.

The Lady Hounds enter the postseason as a three seed and will face Edinburg Vela, which finished second in District 31-6A. The two will square off at 7 p.m. Tuesday at San Benito Veteran’s MemorialAcademy.

“We have made the playoffs before, it’s just a new team and a new game,” said San Benito coach Ruby Medina. “I think we’re ready, we have home court and we are ready for the playoffs, and excited to play a great team in Edinburg Vela.”

San Benito battled through a tough district and finished with a 9-5 record.

The Lady Hounds will lean on seniors Kayleen Reyes, Arlene Lucero and Crystal Ibarra to guide the offensive attack. Junior libero Sarah Garcia has also checked in a strong season.

This year’s senior class has tasted the playoffs the past two seasons, but fell shy against Edinburg North in 2015 and Edinburg High in 2016, both in the bi-district round. San Benito is hoping the third time’s the charm against a familiar opponent in Vela.

“We have played them before in tournaments and we won, but I told the girls not to take them lightly,” said Medina. “They’re going to be ready to play; from then to now everybody improves so it’s important for us to enter the game physically and mentally prepared for anything.”

The Lady SaberCats are no stranger to the postseason and are led by senior middle blocker Bianca Cortez. Sophomore outside hitter Glenys Maldonado has also had a hand in the offense this season along with setter Emily Espinoza and fellow outside hitter Jacquline Calvillo.

“Vela has a great middle blocker. She is very good and hits the ball well, and their back row is solid,” Medina said. “Defensively, they’re sharp and it’s going to be a very competitive match. I believe our girls are ready. Our district was tough and that has prepared us for the playoffs.”

Lucero, who is one of the five seniors on the team, is eager to erase the past and take this year’s team to the next level.

“We have the confidence to get the job done Tuesday,” Lucero said. “We have been working hard all season and, as a senior, we’re trying to get past the first round.

“This year we seniors have pushed the underclassmen to perform the best that they can. We motivate them and they feed off that. Our experience is going to help because most of us have been here before. Last season we had some injures, but this year we’re all ready to go.”