Volleyball: Martinez stresses positives at Cy Lakes
Just over a week into the season, new Cy Lakes volleyball coach Monica Martinez feels right at home with the Lady Spartans.
"I couldn't ask for a better team in my first year as a head coach," Martinez said. "These players are willing to learn and are very coachable, and they are giving 110 percent in all aspects, so I couldn't be happier."
Martinez played at Mayde Creek High School (2002 graduate) and in college at Missouri Southwest Baptist, and spent fours years as an assistant coach (two years each at Seven Lakes and in Denton) before taking charge at Cy Lakes, which is in its third varsity season.
"It's great to be back in the Houston area," she said. "I grew up in Katy, and my parents are here, and after facing Mayde Creek in the first week of the season as a coach, it's kind of surreal, and coming full circle for me."
Cy Lakes won three district matches in its first two seasons (3-33) under former coach Carrie Schneider and while competing against the deep talent in 17-5A, and Martinez sees the team maturing and more success on the way.
"The 2-16 district finish last season does not portray the players we have," she said, "and even though it's still a new program that's in a building state, we have a strong senior presence this year, and that will make a positive difference."
The Lady Spartans' second senior class includes defensive specialists-liberos Farrah Oxley and Sarah Anderson, defensive specialist Morgan Derwyer, middle blockers Tyesha Edge and Davina Fatunbi, outside hitter Hannah Bobst and setter Laurie James.
Bobst is back after an injury limited her playing time in 2010, and James is a returning starter who is working well with junior setter Ashley Gibson.
"James is a great leader and Gibson is learning a lot from her," Martinez said.
Junior hitters Angela Coleman, Madeline Cash and Bianca Hoffner, and sophomore defensive specialist Kate Davis give the new coach even more looks.
"We have some options and that's a good thing," Martinez said. "We'll be exploring different lineups and combinations, and we have to do it quickly with district right around the corner."
With 10 teams in 17-5A, and the resulting 18 district matches, league openers are set for 6 p.m. on Aug. 23 including Cy Lakes at Cy Ridge.
The Lady Spartans will use the Cy-Fair ISD Tournament on Thursday and Saturday, Aug. 11 and 13, host Reagan at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12, and play at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 16, at Bush while preparing for district.
There's also tournaments on Aug. 18-20 hosted by Dobie, and on Sept. 1-3 at Kingwood, while the 17-5A schedule gets rolling.
"Every game and every match is important, but district games count towards the playoffs, so you emphasize those while balancing in tournament action," Martinez said. "I'm glad the varsity tournaments were not part of the budget cuts because you really need all those games, and even tough August is really the busiest time of the season, you want it that way before settling into district play."
Full-time district action gets underway on Sept. 2 and shuts down Oct. 25 with the top four teams advancing to the playoffs.
"It's definitely a challenging district, especially for a young program, but that also makes it exciting, and you never know what can happen," Martinez said. "I'm just so happy to be at Cy lakes and working with these fine young women, and as a head coach, it's an ideal first team."
The Lady Spartans have pool play games at 4 p.m. with Oak Ridge, 5 p.m. with Clear Falls, and 6 p.m. with Cy Woods on Thursday, Aug. 11, at Cy Woods High School as part of the Cy-Fair ISD Tournament.