Both teams have high expectations under first-year coaches.
The Eagles are coming off a 2013 season that saw them reach the regional quarterfinals before falling to Yorktown.
With five letter winners back, new coach Brittany Talamantez has the Eagles thinking about another deep run.
“We definitely want to make it to playoffs again,” Talamantaz said. “Last year, I heard they made it three rounds deep.
“I would like us to at least get there, or even go further. Right now, we’re a little rocky, but we’re going to get there soon.”
And Talamantaz has a checklist on how to accomplish those goals.
“We need to be able to work more together; we need to be able to talk; we need to hustle for the ball, and our energy level needs to be up higher,” she said.
Seniors Anna Elder, Ashlynn Schauer, Randi Arrosila and Abby Cantu and junior Hana Kurger are all back after seeing significant time last season.
Junior Erica De La Santos and sophomores Alexi Alsobrook and Brooke Lindaman will be key contributors this year, according to Talamantaz.
Expect, Talamantaz says, the Eagles to be aggressive.
“We have the hitters,” she said. “Randi, Anna and Hana are my top hitters. Honestly, I would not want to take a hit from them spiking down the ball.
“If they can get good sets, that’s what I want them to do. Just smack it down.”
The Bobcats just missed the playoffs in 2013. They don’t expect the same to happen this year.
New coach Holly Vasquez has six letter winners back and has her team focused on making the playoffs.
“Our big goal is to obviously make the playoffs,” Vasquez said. “We need to improve our mental game and our defensive game.”
Seniors Isabel Jimenez, Mari Martinez and Debra Wilder, and juniors Amanda House, Sydney Baker and Charli Perron all return for the Bobcats.
“I think that they have a real positive attitude,” Vasquez said. “The seniors we have are really stepping into the role of leaders.”
Throw in newcomer Lauren Richmond, a sophomore, and S-T has the makings of a team that can compete in District 29-3A.
“We want to have a better record than last year,” Vasquez said. “And we want to make it all the way through the year as a team.”
Kevin J. Keller is the sports editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5223, or at sports@mySouTex.com, or follow him on Twitter, @beepicsports.