ROCHESTER, Minn. — The Eastfield Lady Harvesters’ road to nationals was much like their plane ride this morning. They had to take a route they’d never taken before in order to make it to a place they’d never been. Eastfield’s volleyball team was at the school at 5:45 a.m. in order to make it to DFW airport in time for their flight. Several players, including sophomore libero Cecilia Valadez, had reason to be nervous.
“It was my first time flying,” Valadez said. “I thought it was going to be like one of those horror movies, but I told this nice guy who sat in the seat next to me about our season and he told me he had a good feeling about the tournament. That’s when my nerves settled.”
From a new head coach to injuries to eligibility issues and quitters, the Lady Harvesters have experienced it all. However, after a rough losing streak, they made a turnaround, finishing the season on a four-game winning streak. After winning the Metro Athletic Conference title, they find themselves in Rochester, Minnesota, where three wins means a national title.
“We just have to stay focused,” co-captain Jordan Taylor said. “It doesn’t matter what happened earlier in the season. All that matters is that we’re here.”
Co-captain Cynthia Martin agreed, saying, “We just have to go out there and do our thing.”
The Lady Harvesters had a 6:30 p.m. practice time Wednesday night that lasted an hour and a half. The team worked on passing and fundamentals. Coach Catilin Smith said the practice went well. The team will practice Thursday after a 7 a.m. team breakfast.
— Kevin Cushingberry Jr.