Preseason trials leading to late-season success for young SquawsFree Access

The Jourdanton Squaws celebrate a point in their match against Cotulla. SAM FOWLER | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

The Jourdanton Squaws love when a plan comes full circle.

After sweeping district foe Cotulla (25-20, 25-16, 25-19) on Wednesday to close out the first half of District 30-3A play, that circle is close to completion with a 5-0 mark in district.

The Squaws took down the Cotulla Cowgirls behind 13 kills from junior hitter Isela Wilson, three blocks from senior setter Katlyn Polasek and two from Madi Yow and Sidney Morneau. Libero Emma Roach finished with 13 digs and setter Macey Briones finished with 12.

Despite trailing at three points in the first set and a pair of injuries that sidelined starters, the Squaws never looked out of rhythm. They would then use a 9-1 run to steal the first set after trailing 19-16. They wouldn’t trail again the rest of the match.

Jourdanton’s Isela Wilson finishes off an attack against Cotulla. SAM FOWLER | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

“Really, it was just resiliency,” head coach Joella Gallegos said. “We had two injuries this week. One [injury] just happened right before the game. So, I had to have two players step up and play positions they haven’t played all season. The fact that they did that and we were able to rally around them and were still able to be successful was a huge accomplishment. I think just the resilience and tenacity, that they were willing to do that for each other is a really great thing to watch as a coach.”

“It feels really good [to be unbeaten in district],” Wilson said. “We kind of struggled in the beginning, but we’ve worked really hard.”

But the plan didn’t immediately involve the run of form the Squaws are currently enjoying. With three players returning from 2018’s regional quarterfinal run, they knew they needed to grow as a team.

Gallegos scheduled a rough nondistrict schedule, knowing the inexperienced team would suffer some losses early. However, she kept faith in her team and knew they would put in the work needed to defend their district crown.

Now, her team is sitting in the catbird seat to come home with another district title.

“I think the best thing is we haven’t reached our full potential yet,” Gallegos said. “We still have some things that we need to work on. The teams in our district are stepping up and forcing us to compete. So, that’s really good for us to really come together when we need to.”

The Squaws have met each challenge at every turn, though. That’s something Gallegos credited to a preseason that pitted them against five playoff teams, including a state runner-up.

That preseason, and now district run, has led to a rise in confidence.

Jourdanton’s Madi Yow goes for a kill against Cotulla. SAM FOWLER | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

“I feel like, since we are such a young team, people may not have believed in us as much,” Yow said. “We really had to believe in ourselves before we overcame any difficulties that we had. That’s what really pushed us forward.”

The confidence has shown in setters Briones and Polasek. The two each had 12 assists on Wednesday night.

Having two highly confident setters has made life easy for Yow, Wilson and all of the Squaws’ hitters as of late.

“It’s great because, they’re confident in us and they know who to set it to and who’s gonna get us a point,” Yow said. “It’s just great for them to lead us out there and know everything that’s going on.”

Jourdanton will be idle this Friday before welcoming Natalia to town on Oct. 15.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *