It’s not difficult to spot Lexi Perez while watching Copperas Cove play volleyball.
Look for the player diving all over the place.
“Lexi is always diving for that volleyball,” said Cove head coach Cari Lowery. “It doesn’t matter to Lexi about elbow burns, knee burns, bruises all over her body. She’ll do anything to help out our team.”
Perez, a senior, is Cove’s libero, the defensive specialist.
And, according to Lowery, Perez is a key component to Cove’s early success.
The Lady Bulldawgs have won 10 of their first 11 contests.
Perez earned all-tournament honors last week at the Austin ISD Invitational. In that tourney, Cove won eight of nine matches.
“Lexi has stepped up and she deserved that recognition,” Lowery said.
Perez enjoys her role as libero.
“You can’t have any offense if you don’t have a strong defense,” Perez said. “You must, as a team, be able to get that ball up to the setters who then get it to the hitters.
“Another reason I love being libero is because I’m constantly involved and I’m always running around. Whenever there’s a big hitter on the other team and they have a big boom, I love returning that ball right to our setter — it can be an immediate momentum-changer. That can really demoralize a hitter: They think they’re finishing things off with a kill, but I’m there and ready for it.”
As for why she’s been so successful in her role as libero, Perez said, “During the warm-ups, I watch all the other hitters on the opposing team. I want to see where they’re going. Any little edge I can find, I’ll use.”
Perez has high expectations for the 2014 Lady Dawgs.
“I really like what’s going on right now for us,” she said. “Coach Lowery is pushing us to be the best we can be and it’s working. I know that one of the goals that we’ve talked about as players is that we want to win district and get past the second round of playoffs. Yes, there’s a lot of pressure with setting such high goals but we feel, if we keep working hard and do what Coach Lowery asks us to do, we can make this a great season.
“We’re aware that everyone wants to get Cove now: We’ve won district the past two seasons. So we feel right now the most important thing we can do is to keep trying on being the best we can be.”
Contact Allan Mandell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7566 and read his column at KDHPressbox.com