Sharyland Pioneer head coach Laura Cavazos didn’t realize she earned her 200th coaching victory with the Diamondbacks this year.
That’s how focused she was on her team, their seasons and their success. The focus paid off as the Diamondbacks compiled a 37-5 record, winning their first district title with a 12-2 mark in 31-5A and advancing to the second round of the Class 5A playoffs.
Playing arguably their toughest schedule since the school first opened in 2014, Cavazos guided the team to their most wins in a single season and fewest losses. At Pioneer, Cavazos has compiled a 214-84 record for a .718 winning percentage and has been named The Monitor’s 2021 All-Area Volleyball Coach of the Year.
Cavazos spent two years as head coach at Sharyland High and moved over to Pioneer after Sharyland ISD split Sharyland High into two schools, adding Pioneer in 2014.
“When I left Shary, it was tough,” said Cavazos, who has also been head coach at Donna for a year. “When they split schools I didn’t know if I wanted to leave, but having an opportunity to open a school and build a program was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
The Diamondbacks were 28-12 that first year, hit 30 or more wins in 2016 (30-8) and 2019 (32-13), then blew past both with the 37-5 mark this season.
“We had pretty much an unspoken goal, to win district, but it wasn’t anything we had to talk about,” she said. “It started in the offseason, it was there during practice and they did what they needed to do. Many of them had been on the team for four years.”
Players used words like funny, thoughtful, caring and determined when describing their coach.
“She always matched our energy super well,” All-Area Libero Lizzy Fina said. “We could joke around with her, but we also knew when it was time to get serious and down to business.”
Cavazos, who could also be described as intense, said it was important to bring a full package of knowledge, awareness and skills to her team.
“I try to make it fun and make sure they know that I care about them. It’s not just about volleyball, but relationships, too,” she said. “It’s still a game and we are going to learn from the losses and be good. I love my job and what I do. I certainly can be intense but I also have to counter that intensity.
“It’s not about driving them into the wall or beating them down. It’s about a great practice. Enjoy the moment and be grateful.”
She added: “As a player early on, I remember thinking about what my coach was thinking and wanted to be a leader and an extension of that staff for my team. It probably wasn’t my choice, but just in my blood. Even if I picked something else, I would probably be in the gym. I ... Click here to read full article