Farmersville, Lindsay and Corcoran participate in triple round robin competition
FARMERSVILLE – No indoor sports? No problem for the volleyball programs at Farmersville, Lindsay and Corcoran. Last week the three schools kicked off a triple round robin competition format to give the volleyball players an opportunity to compete.
The teams are competing on grass volleyball courts outside of their respective schools due to the strict COVID-19 restrictions placed on indoor sports. Farmersville hosted Lindsay last Tuesday in a match largely dedicated to just getting the girls some playing time. With no referees, the teams alternated set wins as the Cardinals won the first, third and fifth to come out on top. However, the final box score was not of much concern for Farmersville head coach David Light.
“The girls are having fun, it’s very relaxed, and we’re just enjoying our time,” Light said. “We’re focused on progressing, getting that last year in for seniors, and getting some experience for the younger players.”
The core for their program is back this year, but it is a young team with only two seniors: Mykenzye Morin, the team’s best blocker who will be tough to replace, plus three-year starter and team captain Vanessa Romero who is the team’s best all-around player.
At some points in their matches, five of the six players on the court are freshmen and sophomores. When junior captain Lizbeth Jimenez couldn’t make it to the game, freshman outside hitter Estrella Valencia-Briceno stepped up to play a major role. “She’s a star on the rise,” Light said about the young freshman who has immense potential.
Another freshman who will be serving an important role on the team for years to come is Jolina Castaneda. Deemed a freshman phenom by her coach, Light says she’s already one of the most accomplished setters he’s ever coached. It’s likely due to the fact that she comes from a volleyball family as her older sister Jordan was the team’s setter in Light’s first year coaching with the Aztecs, who is now playing at Porterville College. Light also used to play men’s club volleyball with her uncle, Dan Castaneda, in the late 1990s in Visalia.
As for Lindsay, head coach Angel Leon deemed it a breath of fresh air, literally, to be back with his team competing.
“Being able to hear the noise of volleyball… I couldn’t see the smiles because of the masks but I could hear them engaged and cheering. You don’t know how much you’ll miss it until it’s taken away so we can’t take this for granted.”
It was a bit more important for the Cardinals to get back out there as they have five seniors playing in their last season with three of them hoping to play at the next level. Leon’s daughter Alexis has a few offers but has not yet committed to a school. Briana Hernandez and Stephanie Barajas are also working hard to play collegiate volleyball.
The two teams will compete again tomorrow March 18 at Lindsay.