HARLINGEN — For Criselda Rubalcaba, taking over the San Perlita volleyball program was something she wasn’t too sure about. She was nervous but felt the program needed consistency and a fresh start.
After her arrival, Rubalcaba guided the Lady Trojans to the playoffs during her first two years. This year was a banner year for her and the Lady Trojans, as they won a district title and reached the third round of the playoffs.
“I think the girls needed consistency, and I felt they needed someone they could rely on and I felt I could do that,” Rubalcaba said. “When the opportunity presented itself, I took it.”
With the strong season, she was named the Valley Morning Star’s 2019 All-STAR Volleyball Coach of the Year.
“It was a privilege and honor to coach these girls,” Rubalcaba said. “It is a blessing to receive this award, but all the honor and glory goes to the girls because they were the ones who put in all the work.”
In her first year, Rubalcaba went 17-14 overall with a 7-5 record, and San Perlita lost in the bi-district round of the playoffs. During her second year, the Lady Trojans took a step forward with a strong 25-6 overall record, and they went 11-1 in district play.
It was evident the Lady Trojans bought in on their new coach and put together a strong 2019 season.
“The first year was a little rough for the kids to buy in,” Rubalcaba said. “There hadn’t been too much consistency, but it was a challenge. But once they got bought in, it took time but they bought in. Over the summer is when I saw the girls take that next step. Our numbers weren’t too good, but our numbers grew over the summer.”
Rubalcaba, who is from Raymondville, has eight years of teaching experience and now two years of coaching experience.
“I was very nervous when I first started,” Rubalcaba said. “I wasn’t sure if I was the right person for the job or if I was capable, but once I got into it I was fortunate to receive help from the other coaches. They helped me anytime I struggled. There is always a helping hand in San Perlita.”