LYFORD — The 2018 season will be an interesting one for the Lyford Lady Bulldogs volleyball program.
While a bulk of the team was lost to graduation this offseason, the Lady Dogs remain one of the top teams in the District 32-3A heading into the new campaign.
Last year the Lady Dogs went 6-2 in league play and finished in second place behind Santa Rosa. Despite falling in the area round to Goliad, Lyford has reached the playoffs each year under third-year head coach Lisa Lancaster.
“I saw the girls play over the summer (in summer league games) and they were upset because they didn’t win many games, but they knew the competition against bigger schools was going to make them better,” Lancaster said. “The idea is to prepare the kids for the playoffs; it’s a whole other level when we make the playoffs and I want the kids to be ready, and playing tough competition gets them ready for that.”
Lyford bid farewell to Hannah Perez, Ashley Rangel and Adriana Duran, who all played a vital role on last year’s team.
“The girls have experience playing with each other,” Lancaster said. “It’s just a matter of them getting used to playing at a quicker pace at the varsity level. We’re just in our first week so there is plenty of work to do, but I know we will get where we need to be.”
This year, Lyford will look to senior Sarah Martinez and junior Jerrica Rojas. The two are the only two returners from last year’s squad and both look to play a key role this coming fall.
“It was bittersweet coming out for our first few days of practice,” Martinez said. “I was a little nervous and it hit me already that this is my senior year, this is my last go-around. However, it is exciting to be back on the court.”
Junior Karla Medina will look to fill the libero position this season, but is open to filling in wherever the team needs her.
“I’m looking forward to playing this year. I play libero that is my main position, but I’m ready to get back on the court,” Medina said. “I recently had a baby, so it’s good to come back and be on the court. Everything went well and right now I’m working hard on getting back to where I need to be. I really liked how the first few days have gone. The coaching staff has done a great job and the girls are great to play with. It’s been a smooth transition.”
District 32-3A will also have a new look after the UIL’s realignment this past February. Brownsville IDEA Riverview, Vanguard Academy Pharr, Weslaco IDEA and Vanguard Alamo are the four new teams added to the district.
The Lady Bulldogs open the regular season on Tuesday with a home match against La Joya Juarez-Lincoln. They will then participate in the annual Donna Tournament, which begins Friday.