The Jourdanton Squaw volleyball team will look a lot different in 2019 after graduating 10 seniors from their regional quarterfinal squad that went 22-17 and unbeaten in District 30-3A.
However, the expectations are still there and the Squaws, who return three players, are ready to rise to the challenge.
“It’s a huge drive because we have to get everyone to do what we did and get everyone up and hyped like we used to be,” said senior setter Katlyn Polasek. “Losing those seniors was huge because they were the party of the team.”
Last year’s three set loss to Goliad in the quarterfinal still stings to the returners and head coach Joella Gallegos.
“It’s super exciting because we get to give them a second chance to show who we are as a team,” Polasek said.
With the young squad that’s set to take the court for the Squaws, Gallegos knew she needed to schedule a tough preseason to expedite the process of growing this young team.
“I’m very excited. We have a really tough preseason,” Gallegos said. “We’re hoping to continue from where we left off last year. We lost 10 seniors, so it’s a brand new team. But our expectations and goals haven’t changed.”
That’s why Goliad is their first scrimmage and there are five playoff teams scheduled in their preseason to go along with three tough tournaments. One of those five teams were TAPPS Class 3A State runner-ups last season.
“I think (preseason) will be our lifeline to the playoffs,” Gallegos said. “We’re starting off with a scrimmage at Goliad, who beat us in the third round last year. We’re gonna see some other teams who made it to the regional tournament (Vanderbilt) Industrial, London. So I think it’s gonna give us a preview of whether or not we’re able to go as far, if not further, with the team we have.”
But the Squaws have continued to put in work this summer. The commitment has been extremely high with the University Interscholastic League allowing sport-specific training for two hours per week for the first time ever.
“I think their commitment has been really good. They’ve been showing up because of the fact they can be coached and it’s not on their own,” Gallegos said. “Really, all we’re lacking is that experience at the high competition level. I think once we get started, we’ll see the true test of all the hard work we put in.”
The Squaws’ first regional quarterfinal appearance in 11 years half a bookend to a historic year for Jourdanton athletics. Every team made the playoffs in some way, shape or form.
The Squaws are hopeful to spark another historic run with their play on the court this year.
“We’re super motivated. We wanna do better every year,” Polasek said. “Keep going up. We don’t want to go back. We’re ready for it.”
The Squaws open practice on Aug. 1 with their first official match scheduled for Aug. 6 at Somerset.