New year, bigger goals for Lady Eagle volleyball



Pleasanton sophomore outside hitter Sadie McAda (left) talks with Head Coach Gabriel Aguirre during their scrimmage against Lytle on Saturday, Aug. 8. McAda figures to be a key component in the Lady Eagles’ 2020 campaign. J GARCIA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Pleasanton sophomore outside hitter Sadie McAda (left) talks with Head Coach Gabriel Aguirre during their scrimmage against Lytle on Saturday, Aug. 8. McAda figures to be a key component in the Lady Eagles’ 2020 campaign. J GARCIA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Experience is on the Pleasanton Lady Eagles’ side this year.

The Lady Eagles return eight players from their 2019 campaign that saw them reach the area round of playoffs.

“We’re extremely lucky that they let us start on time,” Head Coach Gabriel Aguirre said. “The girls look fired up about getting ready to play, we’re ready to go. Hopefully we can do the right things to make sure we finish the season.”

The Lady Eagles return most of their offense in the form of sophomore outside hitter, and 2019 district Newcomer of the Year, Sadie McAda, senior outside hitter Brianna Garcia, junior setter Tess Underbrink, who was honorable mention All-District last year, and sophomore setter/outside hitter Victoria Urbanczyk.

After bowing out of the playoffs early last year, they hope they can make a deep run in the postseason in 2020.

“[Our goal is] to make it back to the playoffs for sure, hopefully. It was kind of disappointing last year that we lost in the second round. We shouldn’t have,” Underbrink said. “So, come back stronger and better and get farther.”

Pleasanton junior setter Tess Underbrink serves during the Lady Eagles’ first practice of the 2020 season. Head Coach Gabriel Aguirre recognizes the importance Underbrink will have this season as setter. SAM FOWLER | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Pleasanton junior setter Tess Underbrink serves during the Lady Eagles’ first practice of the 2020 season. Head Coach Gabriel Aguirre recognizes the importance Underbrink will have this season as setter. SAM FOWLER | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Having McAda back at full strength for a full season will also be an upside for this Lady Eagles team. McAda missed the first part of 2019.

“It’s great just because I’m always gonna have an option,” Underbrink said. “Sometimes, some people just aren’t in the right spot at the right time. But Sadie, if she’s in the middle of court, you can still do something smart with it and keep it in play. So, it’s always good to have her as an option.”

Urbanczyk, who ran primarily as a setter in 2019, will get a chance as an outside hitter this year after showing flashes of brilliance at the net in 2019, Aguirre said.

“It’s good having two setters back,” Aguirre said. “But this year we’re looking to move Victoria outside to be an outside hitter. So we may just run Tess all the way around just depending on what we see in these two-a-days.”

Pleasanton senior Brianna Garcia passes a ball during their first prac-tice of the season. SAM FOWLER | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Pleasanton senior Brianna Garcia passes a ball during their first prac-tice of the season. SAM FOWLER | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

However, the Lady Eagles did graduate their two defensive specialists, including second team All- District selection Kalyssa Rios.

Experience in all other areas on the court will be vital to the development of new defensive specialists for the Lady Eagles.

“Our problem this year is going to be our defense. I lost all my DS from last year so it’s going to be tough to fill their shoes,” Aguirre said. “It’s gonna be a lot easier because all the ones that are coming back already know what I expect. And so they’ll be able to get the kids to get on board and do the right thing.”

The Lady Eagles opened the season on Tuesday, Aug. 11, at home against Devine. They will host Davenport on Friday, Aug. 14, at 6 p.m.

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