SAN ANTONIO, Texas – A clear front-runner has emerged in District 27-5A.
Now five games into district play, the Jefferson Mustangs volleyball team sits atop the standings with a pristine 6-0 record. The Mustangs have won five straight games, notching decisive 3-0 wins over the next best teams in the district over that stretch, Alamo Heights and Highlands.
"This run has been really big," said junior libero Andrea Valdez. "We might be a young team, but it shows that we still have big hearts. Things may happen during a match, but we always get better from it and push through."
"Everybody pegged Alamo Heights to win our district, so when we were able to beat them here at home, that just gave us momentum," head coach Kristi O'Leary said. "We knew that Highlands was the only other undefeated team in the district, and we went into that match just knowing and wanting to come away with the victory."
Jefferson comfortably pulled away to secure the victory over the Owls with set scores of 25-18, 25-18, and 25-10, highlighting the most impressive aspect of the Mustangs' district record: their margin of victory. Jefferson has won sets by an average of over nine points per set, and has only dropped a single set against district opponents.
So why are the Mustangs so good this season?
"We are a strong defensive team," O'Leary said. "We have amazing back row defensive specialists, and when they're able to get a great pass to our setters, our talented front row is able to put the ball down for us."
"The biggest strength of the team is communication," Valdez explained. "We talk with each other and bond so much that we've become a team, rather than a group of people who just play with each other."
"We always have each other's backs no matter what," said junior outside hitter Skyla Morales. "I know that if I mess up, somebody is going to be there for me. I think that helps us when we're down because we always have somebody behind us to pick us back up."
This early season success has the Mustangs readjusting their expectations and aiming their sights toward an even higher goal: finishing undefeated in district play. Moving forward, it's clear Jefferson knows what it takes to stay on top.
"Just hard work," said freshman middle blocker Summer Silva. "We've been working really hard, trying different rotations to see what works best for our team, and it always seems to work. We talk well, and we're great as a team."
"My girls are excited," O'Leary said. "It's going to take confidence in each other and that desire to just go all the way."