There is no doubt – Qiana Canete has secured her spot as one of the best athletes to ever compete at Copperas Cove.
The middle blocker cemented her legacy with a record-breaking senior season, ending her career by guiding the Lady Bulldawgs to a second consecutive District 8-5A championship, setting new program benchmarks, repeating as district MVP and landing on the all-state team.
Additionally, she walks away from Copperas Cove as the 2013 KDHpressbox.com All-Area MVP after also earning the accolade as a junior.
After all Canete has accomplished over her high school career, she is departing completely satisfied.
“I wouldn’t trade it for anything, and I wouldn’t go back and change anything,” Canete said. “My experience is unforgettable, and I’m really going to miss it.”
Following a stellar junior season, Canete somehow managed to improve.
With 453 kills as a junior, Canete became the most prolific hitter in program history, while also leading the Lady Bulldawgs to their first undefeated district championship. One year later, she smashed her own single-season record, delivering 679 kills to total 1,464 kills for her career.
Along the way, Canete’s teams amassed an overall record of 110-25, including a program-best 40 wins this season.
Her impact, however, stretches far beyond the volleyball court, according to Copperas Cove head coach Cari Lowery, who was named 2013 KDHpressbox.com All-Area Coach of the Year.
“Younger kids look up to her tremendously,” she said. “Everybody knows Qiana and everybody wants to be Qiana, so she has done a tremendous amount to help me fulfill my vision of what this can be. It’s her vision too, and that is what I always ask of these girls as part of the program is they’ve got to give back.
“It’s not just about what they’re going to do on the floor that season, it’s about what they’re going to do for the future teams.”
And using her influence to be a positive example is not something the University of Texas-Arlington commit takes lightly.
“Every time I got on the court this year, I had to be an awesome role model,” Canete said. “I had to always put in all the work I could during practice so the other girls could see what it took.
“There is a lot of pressure, but I think the pressure is what pushes me to work harder.”
Two Copperas Cove teammates join Canete on the all-area team.
Senior Bryaunea Hall served as an ideal complement to Canete, recording 415 kills and 124 blocks en route to earning 8-5A All-District Co-Hitter of the Year honors, while junior setter Mikayla Blount posted a team-high 882 assists and finished third in kills (168) for the Lady Bulldawgs to go along with 38 aces, 82 blocks and 328 digs.
Gatesville junior Kayla McGiboney also landed on the list after emerging as the District 8-3A’s Co-Offensive MVP and leading the Lady Hornets to an 11th consecutive playoff appearance, averaging 13 kills and four blocks during district.
Rounding out the team were Ellison junior Brianna Gray and Belton senior Brieanna Brown.
Gray was named named 8-5A All-District Blocker of the Year after helping the Lady Eagles return to the playoffs for the first time since 2007, and Brown capped off her high school career by leading the Lady Tigers to a second consecutive playoff appearance after Belton produced just a single district victory in 2011.
With Canete leading the team in kills, kill percentage (55) and blocks (234), while also placing in the top four for serves received (2nd, 421), serving percentage (3rd, 97.4) and digs (4th, 325), the Lady Bulldawgs never experienced consecutive losses en route to a 40-8 record this season, winning 35 matches in straight sets.
In addition to making the academic all-district team, she was a unanimous selection for district MVP and was recently placed on the Texas Girls Coaches Association Class 5A All-State Volleyball Team for a second consecutive season.
“She wanted to be better every day,” Lowery said. “So, she has raised the level of performance for the future of Lady Dawg volleyball.”
Now, one of the most decorated athletes in Copperas Cove history, Canete embarks on a quest to create an equally extraordinary collegiate career with the Mavericks, but she believes plenty of potential remains.
“I think there are a lot girls that are younger, who are coming up, that are going to be really good,” she said.“If they just keep working hard and listen to everything Coach Lowery says, then this program should stay successful for a long time.”