Sharyland High volleyball coach Raul Castillo during a playoff game at McAllen Memorial High school on Tuesday, Nov. 07, 2023 in McAllen. Castillo was named the new McAllen Memorial head volleyball coach on Monday. (Delcia Lopez | [email protected])
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Sharyland High volleyball coach Raul Castillo has been named the new McAllen Memorial volleyball coach, approved by the McAllen ISD school board Monday night.

Castillo has been the head coach at Sharyland for 10 years, coming over from Palmview after helping at that school. He took the Sharyland position when current Sharyland Pioneer coach Laura Cavazos left Sharyland to start the program at Sharyland Pioneer after those schools split into two campuses.

Castillo replaces Ashley Doffing, who stepped down almost immediately after this past season concluded. Doffing took the Mustangs to three Sweet 16s in her five years there, continuing a deep playoff run tradition. Memorial has been to the Sweet 16 seven times in the past past 11 seasons, more than any other program in the Valley.

Castillo leaves behind a team that won the past two District 31-5A titles, and reached the Sweet 16 one time, two years ago. The Rattlers held an 88-7 record overall during the past two seasons and were 35-1 in district play during that span.

He said recently that he informed his team he would be applying for the position, so they wouldn’t hear it first from anyone else. The Rattlers return two All-Area superstars for their senior year, outside Kenisha Martinez and setter/hitter Kassandra De La Garza.

Meanwhile, Memorial loses a bulk of its players to graduation, including The Monitor’s 2023-24 All-Area Player of the Year, Amare Hernandez, a Texas A&M commit, and most of its starting six – Hernandez, Madisyn Sosa, Gabby Torres and Leah Garcia, who all started since their freshmen year, are some of the losses, but not all.

Some may find irony in the fact that during the 2022-23 season, Sharyland High won 29 straight before losing to Memorial in a five-set thriller. This past year, the Rattlers carried a 43-match win streak, at the time the longest in the state, when Memorial swept them to advance to the Sweet 16.

During his 10 seasons, Castillo held a 261-140 win-loss record, a .651 winning percentage, that included a shortened 7-8 season when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

This is the fourth coaching change at McAllen High Schools in recent years. Doffing was the first, then Michael Smith replaced Paula Dodge at McAllen High followed by Estefania Portillo taking over the McHi post after Smith left lat the end of last school year.

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