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Lady Patriots Move Up in State Playoffs

20131112-VMHS-v-Floresville-Playoff-Volleyball- dy-002They were in an unfamiliar position – the Lady Patriots hadn’t had to play five sets all year long, but the season came down to the final set that is played to 15 points rather than the usual 25.

Floresville had seemed like easy pickings after the opening 25-10 score, but the same team that had bounced the Lady Patriots last year came roaring back with a second set 19-25 win. The two teams traded the next two sets, setting up the emotional and crucial final set.

With the backing of a large and very noisy crowd of Veterans Memorial fans who made the trip to Alice, Coach Diana Lerma talked to her charges.

“We are a young team with a lot of sophomores and freshmen” she said after the game. “They wanted to cry and I asked them what they were crying about – the game’s not over yet. We can still win it and its going to go to the team that wants it the most.” With that, the Lady Patriots went to their go-to girls, sophomore Gabby Lerma, senior Shania Gilpin, freshman setter D. D. Ibarra and senior Kassy Lopez. It seemed they would take the final set easily when they took an 8-4 lead, but after the Lady Jaguars took a time out, the score tightened again. At 13-12, the Lady Patriots finished it off, including another score by Ibarra.

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Lady Patriots advance, Lady Rattlers upset

20131102 Volleyball LosFresnos vs VMHS lg-10As the state’s No. 1 and the nation’s No. 14 ranked volleyball team, the Veterans Memorial High School (VMHS) Lady Patriots Tuesday took the first of six steps to bring a state championship home to VMHS for the first time in school history. That first step was winning their opening round playoff game against Corpus Christi Moody Tuesday evening.

Step 2 will be their area round game against the Victoria West Lady Warriors at Bishop High School tomorrow. The game time was not available as of press time.

With the straight sets win against Moody, the Lady Patriots improved their overall record this season to 40-0. Having won all but two of those games in straight sets is one indicator of how dominant Coach Diana Lerma’s squad has been all season. Another is that several of those wins were against 5A teams, including their 25-11, 25-16 and 25-23 warm-up game victory over the 15-1 Los Fresnos Lady Falcons last Saturday.

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VMHS Boys Cross Country team advances to state

20131106 CrossCountry VeteransMemorial Boys lg-1The Veterans Memorial High School (VMHS) boys cross country team has been making history a lot lately. Two weeks ago, they became the first boys cross country team in the school’s 10 year history to win a district championship.

Coach William Proctor’s team advanced to the regional meet in San Antonio last week where they became the first VMHS cross country team to win a regional championship and earn one of 12 highly coveted spots at the state meet in Round Rock tomorrow.

As the VMHS boys cross country coach for all but the first two years of the school’s existence, Proctor is now seeing his runners’ hard work pay off.

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La Joya teacher completes half Ironman

20131030 Esmeralda Chavez Triathlete Iron Man JB 2909“Being realistic is the most common path to mediocrity.”

This motto has become the daily creed for La Joya physical education (P.E.) teacher Esmeralda Chavez. Over the past two and a half years she has quit living her life realistically and began living it in a way even she never imagined would ever be possible.

With her weight having reached nearly 300 pounds Chavez knew she needed to make changes in her life. Changes that would not only help her get healthier and feel better about herself but that would also allow her to be a better example to her students at the Thelma Salinas Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Early College High School in La Joya.

Participating in a 5K and reuniting with an old friend through a social media site were what it took to start Chavez on the path to a lifestyle change. The results: She has lost 96 pounds since July 2010 and just this past weeked she competed in and completed the Austin 70.3 half iron man competition.

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Lady Rattlers and Lady Patriots prepare for playoffs

20131019-VMHS-v-Mission-Volleyball dy-002Having earned their respective district championships, the Veterans Memorial Lady Patriots and the Sharyland Lady Rattlers volleyball teams are both preparing for the bi-district round of the playoffs next week. The Mission Lady Eagles could be the third of the Big 6 teams to qualify for post-season play but the final playoff spot will be decided in a one-game playoff to break their fourth-place tie with the Mercedes Lady Tigers at 5:30 p.m. today.

VMHS Lady Patriots

As the state’s No. 1 ranked and the country’s No. 14 ranked team, the Lady Patriots breezed through their 16 game district schedule. They are not only undefeated but have won all their games in straight sets. In total Coach Diana Lerma’s squad has won 37 games in a row this year making it the most successful season the Lady Patriots have ever had.

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Lady Eagles need one more win

20131029 Volleyball Mercedes vs Mission lg-16What a difference a point makes. The Mission High Lady Eagles were one point away from clinching sole possession of fourth place and the final playoff spot in District 32-4A Tuesday evening when the Mercedes Lady Tigers came from behind to take the fifth and deciding set by a score of 16-14. As a result Mission and Mercedes ended district play tied for fourth place with identical 9-7 records.

Since the two teams split their two head-to-head regular season games, they will play a single game tie-breaker this weekend to determine who will advance to the playoffs.

A closed-door meeting was held immediately after Tuesday night’s game to determine the date, time and location of the winner-take-all playoff. Those in attendance included both teams’ head coaches, Mission High School principal Joe Lopez and MHS girls athletic director Iris Iglesias. Players, fans and sports writers waited patiently for what seemed to be well over an hour for the decision to be made.

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