Volleyball season begins tomorrow for the Douglas Lady Bulldogs who will travel to Sierra Vista to take on the 5A Buena Lady Colts.
Douglas has opened with Buena six of the last eight years losing the last two years by scores of 3-1.
Carlos Chavez is back for his 10th year as coach of the Lady Bulldogs. His Douglas team posted 6-12 overall record last year and was 5-6 in conference; 5-5 in region. The Lady Bulldogs were fourth out of seven teams in the Gila Region finishing behind Amphi, Pueblo, and Walden Grove.
“It’s an exciting time of year for us,” Coach Chavez said. “We’ve been practicing several weeks now and we’re anxious to start playing other teams.”
On Thursday, Aug. 22 Douglas scrimmaged both Tombstone and St. David in the DHS gym.
The coach said he saw some good things and some not so good things in the scrimmage.
“I think our experience is starting to show on the court and that’s a good thing,” he said. “They seem to have that confidence now when they step on the court compared to year’s past. I like our chemistry. It makes a big difference.”
The coach said his players know they need to continue to work hard and look to improve and the goal remains the same as it has been in previous years and that’s to win the region.
Leading the Lady Bulldogs this year will be senior Madison Green, last year’s Gila Region Defensive Player of the Year. Along with her are Honorable Mention honorees Isabel Tanabe and Victoria Valenzuela as well as returners Andrea Maytorena, Dianey Grijalva, Deyanira Victor, and Uilani Del Rio.
The coach said he’s not thrilled about opening his season every year against Buena. The two years he didn’t open up with Buena he opened up with Tanque Verde, which is loaded with club players just like Buena.
“It would be nice to open with somebody different for a change,” he said. “Buena is who we have this year so we’re going to go up there and give it our best. The last two years, we’ve been able to take a set off of them so who knows.”
The coach said he had over 50 girls tryout for volleyball this year and credits the junior high volleyball programs at Ray Borane and Paul Huber Middle School along with Loretto Catholic School for having those programs that help teach the younger players learn the game of volleyball.
Looking ahead to region, Chavez said he expects Walden Grove and Amphi to once again be tough.
“Pueblo and Palo Verde always give us a battle,” he said. “We’re hoping we can top them. Our schedule is kind of tough. There are times we will play three games in a row.”
Sept. 24,25 and 26 the Lady Bulldogs will be at Casa Grande, home against Amphi and then back on the road to Flowing Wells.
Oct. 22, 23 and 24th Douglas hosts Walden Grove and then has road games at Palo Verde and Pueblo.
“Those road trips take its toll,” he said. “People think we may be used to it because we travel so much, but it still effects the players. The schedule hasn’t done us any favors. Just the bus ride takes its toll. A lot of the other teams in our region play Tuesday, Thursday which is great. I’m hoping we can get it changed next year since this is the second year of a two-year block.”