COPPERAS COVE — Cari Lowery is no stranger to success.
Since taking over Copperas Cove’s volleyball program in 2004, the Lady Bulldawgs have transformed into a powerhouse.
In the last seven years, Lowery’s teams have delivered at least 30 wins per season, reaching the playoffs each time, and have won back-to-back District 8-5A championships.
Prior to arriving at Copperas Cove, she won 10 consecutive district titles at Springtown and recently recorded the 600th victory of her career.
Despite all her accomplishments, 2013 was perhaps her personal pinnacle to this point.
The Lady Bulldawgs produced the program’s first 40-win season, repeated as district champions, several players, including two-time district MVP Qiana Canete, received statewide recognition, and Lowery was named the district’s coach of the year.
Lowery’s 2013 resume was virtually impeccable, making her a clear-cut choice to be named KDHpressbox.com All-Area Coach of the Year.
“Everybody works pretty hard as a coach,” Lowery said. “So, when (people) recognize your hard work, it’s always an honor, and it’s especially an honor to be rewarded.”
Copperas Cove won 11 consecutive matches to start the season and went 13-1 in district, tying with Waco Midway before beating the Pantherettes in a tiebreaker to determine playoff seeding.
In the postseason, the Lady Bulldawgs defeated Duncanville in the bi-district round before falling to eventual regional finalist Hebron in the area round, concluding the season with a 40-8 record.
“This team was unique in their work habits,” Lowery said, “in their commitment to it from day one. … Sometimes, you have to pull the hard work out of a team, but not this team. They were together all year long, they played as a team, they were proud of each other, and there was never any jealousy. It was always about the team.”
Lowery’s biggest triumph might have been grooming Canete, who was named KDHpressbox.com All-Area MVP, into a dominating force.
After a stellar junior campaign, Canete improved further as a senior, capping off her high school career as one of the best players to ever suit up for Copperas Cove.
“She saw (the big picture), and she bought into me the first minute I met her and believed what I told her — that she was going to be great,” Lowery said.
Thanks in part to Canete, Lowery believes a new standard has been set for rising players.
“Her success raises the bar,” Lowery said. “This whole team, their success raises the bar for future teams. Now, we’ve been undefeated district champions, we repeated as district champion, we’ve won 40 games in a season, so they’re going to want more and more.”
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org