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BY ADRIAN F. TREVINO | SPECIAL TO RGVSPORTS.COM
Confidence is a funny, quirky thing to manage. Too much and you fear the title of arrogance, but too little and good things can easily escape you. The Mercedes Tigers volleyball team is looking for that balance after an upset win Tuesday against a previously undefeated Brownsville Lopez. Mercedes found that confidence to shut out Donna 25-10, 25-13,25-13 in Saturday’s District 32-5A matchup.
In her second year, Mercedes head coach, Olga Adame finds her team in uncharted territory. Last year, the Tigers finished seventh in a tough 5A district and are shaping their identity after the big win.
“We know the position that we’re in…but every game is a big game for us. We don’t underestimate anybody, we stay humble, we come out as if we’re already behind and just play it one point at a time,” Adame said.
Mercedes’ confidence can be personified in their senior leader, Leah Adame. Leah, daughter of the head coach, checks off all the boxes of an all-around player. She is lethal from the service line, a force on the outside, and a tenacious defender. Adame led her team with 21 service points, 15 in a row in the first set, including nine aces. Adame’s serve is much like a plastic bottle in Florida, it’s just not returnable.
“She plays all the way around…she’s our go-to-girl, really smart, one of our most consistent hitters, she knows where to hit the ball,” Coach Adame said.
The Lady Tigers dominated early in the first, but Donna’s Olivia Ramirez clawed her team back (18-8). Ramirez’ rally was ended by a thunderous shot from middle blocker and super-sophomore Isabella Parker. Parker’s slight build is deceiving as she is an imposing figure at the net. She consistently blocked and rebuffed the Bravettes efforts, and when the opportunity presented itself, she forcefully spiked her kill shots.
“She has just come around, she is finally getting on point and finding the holes,” Coach Adame said.
The super sophomore also garnered praise from her teammate, Adame.
“I love our number 8, she’s one of our top middles, she’s grown a lot…she’s my blocker,” Adame said.
At 4-1, the season is still early, and the next four games will test the Tigers. Their confidence will be tested, but that’s where leadership steps in. There’s a special continuity in the leadership shared by the Adames. It’s obvious in their praise and perspective for the game.
“We play as a team, we never take our opponents lightly… we don’t want to settle for less,” Adame said.
“Stronger together, that’s our motto,” Adame said.
Regardless of which Adame said it, that’s confidence.