Qiana Canete set a standard last year. Now, she is poised to surpass it.
After establishing herself as one of Copperas Cove’s best athletes in 2012, being named District 8-5A MVP and guiding the Lady Bulldawgs to an undefeated district championship, the middle blocker is putting together another standout season. The senior is averaging team-highs in kills (454) and blocks (158), while also producing 16 aces and 217 digs.
More importantly, Canete, who has already committed to play volleyball at the University of Texas-Arlington, is the driving force behind the Lady Bulldawgs’ impressive record.
Copperas Cove (29-6) is ranked sixth in the state in the Texas Girls Coaches Association’s current Class 5A poll, and the Lady Bulldawgs are riding a five-match winning streak into tonight’s contest at Killeen.
Coming off a straight-set win at Belton on Tuesday, a victory over the Lady Kangaroos (1-3 district) would extend Copperas Cove’s district winning streak to 19 matches, stretching back to the 2011 season, and move the Lady Bulldawgs (4-0) one step closer to an eighth consecutive playoff appearance.
You knew coming into the season that teams would want to beat Copperas Cove because last year’s campaign was so successful. What has that been like so far?
It is nerve-wracking. I think it is nerve-wracking for all of us, but we all know we have a target on our backs, so we always have to work hard and make sure we are doing the right thing every time we step on the court.
Before the season, you said you were kind of looking forward to that challenge. Is it as enjoyable as you thought it would be?
Sometimes. It depends on the practices. We know by how we practice if we are going to play good or not. So, we just always have to practice our best and always listen to coach (Cari) Lowery. If we do that, we know we are going to do good.
You are undefeated in district so far. Is the team where you expected it to be by this point in the season?
Definitely. I think we could be better. We have a lot of stuff to work on, but I think we are where we should be at this point right now.
Individually, do you feel you are hitting your stride right now?
Yeah. I don’t know, but I think I’m doing pretty good so far. I know the second round of district is going to be harder because everybody is going to know what we do, and we are going to have to be prepared.
How do you compensate for other teams having that familiarity of playing you once already?
We have to read them. We have to scout them. We have to focus on what they are going to do also.