COPPERAS COVE — Qiana Canete was tricked into believing what everybody now simply accepts as fact.
As a freshman, Canete stayed after practice one day, working on her hitting with former Copperas Cove teammate Kat Paradis. After a few minutes, Paradis unknowingly altered Canete’s mental approach
with one simple comment.
“She told me that I was really good,” Canete said while laughing. “I was like, ‘OK.’ So, I thought I was good ever since then.”
Now, there is no doubt.
In the years since, Canete cemented her legacy as one of the best players in school history, ending her high school career with a record-breaking season. As a senior, the middle blocker helped guide the Lady Bulldawgs to a second consecutive District 8-5A championship, set new program benchmarks, repeated as district MVP and landed 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.
“Winning MVP was one of my biggest goals coming into this year,” Canete said. “It just feels awesome that I’m the two-time MVP.”
After putting together an extremely impressive campaign last 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.
“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.”
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 embarks on a quest to create an equally extraordinary collegiate career with the Mavericks.
Canete, however, will always cherish her accomplishments with the Lady Bulldawgs.
“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.”
OTHER ALL-AREA FIRST-TEAM SELECTIONS
Copperas Cove, Jr.
In addition to posting a team-high 882 assists, the setter finished third in kills (168) for the Lady Bulldawgs, while also serving up 38 aces, blocking 82 hits and recording 328 digs.
The outside hitter 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.
In addition to being named 8-5A All-District Blocker of the Year, Gray helped the Lady Eagles return to the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Copperas Cove, Sr.
Hall (14) served as an ideal complement to Canete, recording 415 kills and 124 blocks en route to being named 8-5A All-District Co-Hitter of the Year.
District 8-3A’s Co-Offensive MVP led the Lady Hornets to an 11th consecutive playoff appearance, averaging 13 kills and four blocks during district play.