By LUIS RUBIO, Special To The Monitor
The McAllen Rowe Lady Warriors defeated the Brownsville Lopez Lady Lobos 25-13, 25-21, 25-15 to advance to the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs.
In a season that has presented its share of ups and downs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the pregame message was clear from Rowe coach Magda Canales as the team looked to continue rolling after finishing second in District 32-5A with a 10-4 record.
“All that hard work, dedication, leave it all on the court,” Canales said. “Don’t finish the game thinking, ‘What if I would have done this,’ ‘I should’ve done this,’ ‘I should’ve done that,’ just leave it all on the court.”
The Rowe seniors took the message to heart and were able to find the perfect balance between playing loose and free but aggressive and accurate as they jumped out to a quick 20-9 first-set lead, which set the tone for the rest of the match.
“The fact that we have six seniors in the group has a lot to do with,” Canales said. “They bring experience and they are very good about making sure that the rest of the team is following, doing what they’re supposed to do.”
The Lady Lobos did their best to earn points, scrapping and hitting the floor constantly to keep rallies alive from the powerful and coordinated attacks of Rowe, showing passion and determination to keep their 2020-2021 season alive. Lopez coach Daya Venegas was proud of what her team was able to accomplish in a season like no other.
“It was a tough loss, as the goal is to continue advancing,” Venegas said. “However, I wanted the girls to understand that they’ve showed tremendous effort and grit though this season especially because of our global circumstances. Being kept out of the gym and weight room during the offseason didn’t hinder their ability to continue to work out, rather it showed their tenacity and perseverance to continue to work towards their season goals.”
Senior outside hitter Anna Honrubia continued to her season of dominance for the Lady Warriors, as she had a hand in every rally.
“A lot of practice,” Honrubia said about her commanding performance. “It helps that the whole team is helping me out, too. Passing the ball, setting me up and everybody having confidence in me, that also helps a lot.
Rowe will have a tall task during the second round as it will face Victoria West.
“We’re very, very excited to play a really good team,” Honrubia said. “It’s good competition. We’re going to practice really hard and see what happens, but I think it’s going to go well, we’re very excited.