HARLINGEN — Now is the time. That is the motto the Harlingen Lady Cardinal seniors are going by this season.
After losing a play-in game against Brownsville Hanna last season and narrowly missing the playoffs, the Lady Cards are motivated as ever to put a winning season together in 2018 and clinch the program’s first playoff berth since the 2014 season.
While District 32-6A did get cut by two teams with Weslaco and Weslaco East heading to District 31-6A via the UIL’s realignment this February, the six remaining teams are solid and there will be less room for error.
“Those four words (now is the time) is what will get us through (this season),” said Lady Cards head coach Joslynn Torres. “The team truly believes that this is their time and it’s do or die every game.”
Harlingen will have to replace libero Julissa Munivez and hitter Yazmine Martinez from last season, however the Lady Cards return six players, including four starters.
Seniors, Kirsten Kattan, Alina Prado, Desiree Sanchez and Taegan Dickey makeup of the core and all look to contribute this season.
“It has been a while since we were in the gym; we had a lot of girls come out and it was a good turn out,” Sanchez said. “I was more excited than I was nervous on this being my senior year. Coach Torres expects myself and Taegan to step up and be leaders this year, and that is something I look forward to. In the past we have had great leaders, so being able to fill in and lead is an honor.”
As for Dickey, the senior is making a position change from middle blocker to setter and outside hitter. Torres fully believes in Dickey’s move and saw the progress.
“I have seen her grow so much,” Torres said of Dickey. “From her knowledge of the game to the mental side of it, she has grown as a player. She will be a key player for us in the back row and as a front-row hitter.”
Dickey herself is also looking forward to her new role.
“I’m excited about the position change,” she said. “I have my coaches here with me to help guide me. Over the offseason it was tough because I had just a month to learn it and they had just a month to teach it to me.”
The Lady Cards open the regular season on Tuesday with a tri-match against Laredo United and host Sharyland Pioneer. They then will participate in the annual McAllen Tournament beginning Friday.