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Friday, August 8, 2008

Scrimmage is lone meeting for Eagles, Loboes

The team the Pecos Eagles have been chasing in volleyball for the past six years will be the Eagles’ first opponent of the 2008 season on Saturday, when the Eagles hold their only pre-season scrimmage in Monahans, and face the Loboes for the only scheduled time this year.

The teams will scrimmage at 10 a.m. on Saturday, in the first of three 20-minute scrimmage matches for both squads. Pecos will also scrimmage against Odessa High at 11:40 a.m. and then take on Odessa Permian at 1:20 p.m., before going to El Paso on Tuesday for their 2008 regular season opener.

Pecos’ freshmen and JV teams will also scrimmage the Loboes, Bronchos and Panthers at the same times on Saturday. The varsity will scrimmage in the Jerry Larned Sports Complex, the JV at the old Monahans High School gym and the freshmen at the Walker Junior High gym.

Monahans has advanced to the state tournament five of the past six seasons, winning the Class 3A state title in 2005, while going unbeaten in district play during that span. But the Loboes were moved into District 3-3A this season, with Andrews, Greenwood, Lamesa, Seminole and Brownfield, while Pecos and Fort Stockton have been moved out to the El Paso-based District 4-3A, with Clint, Fabens, Anthony and Tornillo. Unless the teams meet in the playoffs in November, this will be their only match of the year.

It will also be the first match as head coach of the Eagles for Ruth McWilliams, who set her varsity roster on Wednesday. Most of the players return from last year’s squad that lost to Andrews in the area round of the Class 3A playoffs, and Pecos also adds McWilliams’ daughter Leia, who has been a hitter and setter for Marfa the past three years.

Pecos also returns middle hitter Jasmine Rayos, and outside hitters Gabby Garcia, Claire Weinacht and Ally Salcido, so the main thing the Eagles will be looking for going into 2008 is to find new setters, which McWilliams said they would try to find among the non-seniors on the squad.

“We’re looking at two sophomores who have been setting,” she said. “We’ve got two girls who can set in Gabby and Leia, but they’re both seniors, so we’d be dealing with the same thing next year. I’d like to work with some of the younger setters, so we’d already have them ready next year.”

Overall, the Eagles have 48 girls out for volleyball this season, and will have two freshmen teams, as well as having some ninth graders on the junior varsity. “We’ve got so many freshmen it’s going to be hard to get them all enough time on Saturday,” McWilliams said.

Aside from the high numbers, she practice has gone well so far this week, even with all of Pecos’ coaches being new from a year ago.

“We have an excellent coaching staff. I couldn’t have asked for anything better if I had picked them myself,” she said. Along with her husband Brett, the other assistants include former Kermit head coach Dee Dee Molinar, Stephanie Herrera, Gary Garcia, Christina Arenivas, Anna Machuca and Mona Serabia.

The season will open for Pecos with a 4 p.m. CDT match on Tuesday at El Paso Montwood, against the Rams and El Paso Eastwood Troopers. The Eagles freshman and JV squads will start their season the same day with matches in Wink against the Wildcats.

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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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