Lady Bulldogs ready for tall task vs Goliad

LYFORD — The 2017 volleyball season has been quite the turnaround for the Lyford Lady Bulldogs.

Lyford’s season is alive and well after winning its bi-district match against Santa Getrudis on Tuesday and it also saw their win streak extend to six consecutive matches.

The Lady Bulldogs will now meet the defending Class 3A state champs, Goliad, in an area-round playoff match today at Sinton High School.

Under second-year head coach Lisa Lancaster, Lyford avenged last season’s bi-district loss to Santa Getrudis and is in the second round of the postseason. Under Lancaster, the Lady Dogs have shown their maturity and have made improvements on both defense and offense.

“Winning in the first round was really sweet,” Lancaster said. “A lot of the matches we played in last year we lost in five sets. I was able to show the kids that we were able to beat teams in three sets rather than playing four or five sets. After the game (Tuesday) we were all excited and I told the girls we can take it in three sets and that fired them up. It’s good to see the process come full circle and the kids have bought in to the program and how we want to do things.”

In their bi-district win, Ashley Rangel finished with a team-high 12 kills, Marialy Salinas followed with 10 kills, Chris Rocha wound up with a 25 digs, and Adriana Duran wrapped up the win with eight kills and seven digs.

Senior setter Hanna Perez is excited to see her team get over the first-round speed bump and into the area round, something that is a first for the three-year varsity member.

“This being my last year and really the last year for most of us, we wanted to win and get past the first round that was a goal we set and we did it,” Perez said. “This week we are continuing to work hard and coach has set up drills and different ways to prepare us for Friday. It’s going to be a challenge, they (Goliad) are the defending champs and they have some tough hitters, but we have been playing very well defensively so we’re confident.”

The last time Lyford was in the area round was 2014 when the Lady Dogs beat Falfurrias in the first round before falling to George West in the area round in straight sets. The task may be a tall one Friday night, but the Lady Dogs are up for the challenge.

“Right now we’re having the most fun we have had in the last few years,” Duran said. “Now that we are past the first round, it’s a great feeling. We haven’t been able to get past the first round and now we’re seeing our work pay off.

“It was before district play that I realized we had the potential to make a playoff run. Last year we were learning under a new coach and now this year we know the expectations. At the start of the season it was tough, but Coach has us working hard and we all bought in are ready for Friday.”