MISSION — Margo Iglesias Cantu may have to spend a few more dollars than previously planned for her La Joya Palmviewvolleyball team.
Part of the reason is that Cantu and the Lobos plan to travel a little longer into the postseason this year. The other is because freshman libero Jessica Arevalo has a habit of tearing up her leggings from cleaning the floors while diving — and saving —opponents’ attacks.
Arevalo, freshman sensation Miley Zieske and senior Erika Tijerina led Palmview to a 25-20, 25-17 sweep over PSJA North onThursday during Day 1 of the Mission ISD Varsity volleyball tournament at Mission High School.
The Lobos were one of several teams to put together a perfect 3-0 day as a preamble to Saturday’s matches and single-elimination tournament. Both Mission and Mission Veterans high schools are hosting the event.
Tijerina and Zieske are part of a Lobos squad that may be overall the tallest team in Palmview volleyball history and includes two other bigs, Ariana Alaniz and Jeslynn Flores. The program has been on the rise for the past few years and in 2020 reached the playoffs for the first time in more than two decades.
“We have a really strong front line coming back with blocking and hitting, and with Miley coming into it the chemistry is great with those three girls. If one of our big girls is off, we have others to help. Our libero, Jessica, helps us a lot.
“She will dive from coast to coast and will get the ball. Her knees her abs, her leggings, everything is destroyed — but if I need tobuy new leggings, I’ll buy ‘em. She’s all heart and determination.”
At one point, the Lobos would step onto the court and had already determined whether they would win or lose the match. It was a mental block that Cantu has worked tirelessly to get them past. Now, they are perennial playoff contenders and their eyes are set on a District 30-5A title and to get past the bi-district round of the playoffs.
“This team doesn’t cafe who’s on the other side, bring them. I want all the tough teams; we are ready. We feed off each other. I’m just super excited about the opportunity these girls have. We have always fought and fought and fought because we always came from the bottom and scraping,” Cantu said. “I want these girls to go places they’ve never had a chance to go and to see before.
Tijerina registered four kills and a block during a span in which Palmview increased its lead from 17-16 to 22-16. Alexia Arevalo, the team’s setter and older sister to Jessica, also notched an ace during the run.
“Our communication was very good, we made some mistakes but our communication was the key,” Tijerina said. “Having Miley here helped us a lot, brought a lot of confidence to us with her kills and Jessica, our libero, has helped so much too. We’ve won alot of our games because of her.”
The tournament continues today with more pool play at both schools.