Article submitted by Coach Jessica Shoffner–
The varsity boys volleyball team at Mesa Verde High School is off to a fiery start with a bright future ahead, as the Mavericks are currently 2nd in the Golden Empire League with a league record of 5-2 and 8-3 overall.
The team is onto their 5th win in a row after a match against the Pioneer Patriots, with no plans of slowing the momentum down anytime soon.
Update: The team also won against Cordova on April 7, making for an overall record of 9-3 with six wins in a row.
The Mavericks have an impressively young varsity team, with three freshmen in the starting lineup: first year volleyball player, No. 1 freshman, middle blocker, Mathew Garcia, has left the league awestruck by his outstanding performance on the court. Garcia is sitting amongst the top of the stat leaderboards for the GEL, 1st in kills, 2nd in blocks, 3rd in aces and 5th in digs.
No. 8 Freshman, libero, Everardo Jimenez, leads the league in digs, and ranks 2nd in aces. No. 7 junior, middle blocker, Gabriel Texeira-Braga ranks 2nd in league in blocks.
Offensively, the Mavericks are led by No. 3 senior, setter and captain, Jovoni Raya. Now in his third year playing volleyball, Raya has always been a natural leader on and off the court. Not only is he running the offense and calling plays for the hitters, he is the first to refocus the team when needed and keeps everyone motivated. Jovoni is leading the league in assists and aces and is ranked 5th in kills.
What has been the highlight of your season so far?
Raya: “The biggest highlight was our win against Casa and getting redemption for my team. This was one of the most intense games I’ve played and it really came down to which team wanted it more. Acing the last serve on match point to take it all home was so crazy for me because I have never been in such a pressure situation. I was proud to be the player put in that position and was motivated by how badly my team wanted that win, which pushed me to not let them down when they needed me the most.”
What is your favorite part about playing volleyball?
Raya: “My favorite thing about this sport is the joy you have playing it and the bond you build with your players. This game has taught me so much, such as how to be a leader and to have a positive mindset even when the game isn’t going in our favor. It has shown me that there are coaches out there that care a lot about their players and their futures, not just about volleyball.”
Head Varsity Coach Jessica Shoffner is a Mesa Verde alumna who took over the Mavericks volleyball program four years ago with the intention of transforming the culture into something boys at Mesa Verde were proud to be a part of. She has 14 years of coaching experience at the middle school, high school and club level.