By: JOHN CANNON
(MERCEDES) – In 2015, the Mercedes Lady Tigers volleyball team came out of the gates hot as a pistol as they had a very successful non-district campaign and were looking to clinch a playoff spot for the third straight year.
However, their youth really showed in the district season and Mercedes saw their playoff streak come to an end.
Entering the 2016 season, head coach Judy Gutierrez feels that her squad has grown up since last year and has high hopes for her squad.
“We were extremely young last year and it showed in district play,” said Gutierrez. “What was weird about it the fact that we played very well in non-district and things looked really good for us.”
“But we showed our inexperience and made some crucial mistakes in district play which caused us to not make the playoffs. The girls were determined to turn things around and became very active once the season was over. They put a lot of time into working on the little things to make them better and as a result, ended up playing in three summer volleyball leagues over the summer. With the combination of all those things, I feel this year will be much different and that we will be more competitive.”
With the start of the volleyball season commencing on Monday, Gutierrez talked about what her and the Lady Tigers have been working on in preparation for the season.
“We have been having two-a-days which consists of conditioning in the morning and in the afternoon we have a two-hour practice,” said Gutierrez. “We are trying to get the girls back into shape and are looking to tweak a few things as well.”
“Everything has been a whirlwind as we only have four days to get everything in. And while that isn’t a lot of time, the good thing for us is the fact that the girls stayed active and played a lot of ball as well. So that helps with the process and speeds things up as well. They want to get back into the playoffs and I feel their chances are as good as anyone else in this district.”