Senior libero Julissa Munivez played a vital role for the Harlingen Lady Cardinals in 2017.
Munivez spent three years on the varsity, and accounted for 648 digs. For her efforts, she was named to the first team all-district squad and is this year’s Valley Morning Star All-STAR Libero of the year winner.
Q: Looking back on the last few years, what has been your best memory of playing volleyball for Harlingen High?
A: All the friendships that I have gained playing volleyball for Harlingen High will be ones I can cherish for a lifetime. We all started off as teammates, but we quickly grew to love each other like sisters.
Q: How tough is it to play the libero position?
A: Every year I improved as a defensive specialist, from reading the hitters’ hands to quickening up my reactions off the blocks. I have been playing the same defense since my sophomore year, but my coach switched it up in the beginning of this season. And although transitioning at a different angle was difficult, the more reps I got the easier it seemed.
Q: What was the best match you played this season?
A: Our playoff seeding match against the Hanna Lady Eagles. That win was going to determine a spot in the playoffs and I knew I needed to communicate more than usual to my teammates, and come through defensively if I wanted a good outcome. Even though we came up short, I knew I gave it everything I had.
Q: Looking back at the season, what was your best moment?
A: Making a comeback against McHi during our non-district play, and defeating Los Fresnos in a tournament matchup were the best moments that made my season. Of course it didn’t count toward district, but in our hearts we faced the odds and proved everybody wrong, and that’s what meant the world to us. We played with our hearts, and all the love and joy we felt after those wins was an indescribable feeling that I will always remember.
Q: Who is your favorite athlete and why?
A: Lionel Messi would have to be one of my favorite athletes of all time. He is one of the world’s best soccer players and it’s so beautiful to watch him play. Moving the ball around so blissfully is a good site to watch.
Q: What will you miss the most about playing volleyball?
A: The adrenaline I got once the first ball was served, blasting to music while we warmed up and the long bus rides is what I will miss most about volleyball.
Q: What was the toughest gym you had to play in and why?
A: The Hanna gym had to be one of the toughest gyms we had to play in because it was so confined to the point where we felt the fans breathing down our necks. We had never beaten them on their home court and we were aware of that coming into play.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: I want to attend St. Mary’s University in San Antonio to major in biology in order to pursue a career in the medical field. One day I want to become an OB-GYN because we simply do not have enough females in that field of medicine.
Q: If you could leave the younger girls a message what would it be?
A: Never take anything for granted. My volleyball career went by in the blink of an eye and if I had the chance to do it all over again, I would. Leaving everything you have on the court won’t make it easier to leave the game behind, but I will give you something to reminisce about. Love your team, respect your coaches and don’t forget why you started playing in first place.
Q: What does it mean to you to win the Libero of the Year award?
A: I have improved more in the 2017 volleyball season than I have in the last three years playing on varsity. This was because of the amazing coaching staff I was lucky enough to have come across my last year playing at Harlingen High. I wasn’t aware that I had been doing everything wrong (technique wise) for so long, but I grew out of old habits and tried my hardest to be coachable. I am very honored to receive this award and I couldn’t have done it without Coach Torres, Garza, Hoskins and Martinez.
Coach of the Year
Sofia Garcia, Santa Maria
-Naisah Garcia, Santa Rosa
-Bianca Cruz, Rio Hondo
-Annelle Rodriguez, Harlingen South
-Yazmine Martinez, Harlingen
-Adrian Duran, Lyford
-Kayleen Reyes, San Benito
-Sarah Garcia, San Benito
-Skyler Ruiz, Santa Rosa
-Marialy Salinas, Lyford
-Destiny Martinez, La Feria
-Camreon Del Angel, Harlingen South
-Taegan Dickey, Harlingen