Navarro’s new coach Andy Cavins knows what’s he’s got to work with and the Bulldogs showed just why they’re the No. 8 ranked team in the nation on Tuesday night in the Wolens SEC, where they beat Eastfield 3-1 to improve to 5-0 for the season.
The fast start include four wins in Tyler over the weekend for a Navarro program that wants to build on the last two seasons when Hall of Fame coach Rhonda Shirley lifted the program, that had won just six times the year before she arrived to national prominence.
Last year’s Bulldogs were the first to reach the NJCAA nationals, and Cavins was hired to get the Dawgs back there.
“She (Shirley) is a terrific coach and did a great job here the last two years,” said Cavins, who is a legendary coach himself. “I think we can build on that. I think that’s why they brought me in here.”
Navarro’s front line dominated the match Tuesday, and you can look of more of the same from players such as Jordan Russell, a 6-2 sophomore transfer from the University of Houston, who had several impressive kills and blocks at the net. But Russell is just one of Navarro’s many weapons this season.
Sophomore returners Deja Arnold and Monica Wood also are off to fast starts and that trio at the net leads a powerful and athletic front line that is hungry for another big season.
All three had their moments Tuesday and are at the heart of Navarro’s offense already.
The Bulldogs also brought back Emily Witt, who led the nation in assists last season. Witt doesn’t just set the table for everyone on the floor, she does a little everything and does it well and is the anchor of the team.
The Bulldogs brought in Carla Boudal, a hard-nose, tough and gritty libero who isn’t afraid of diving on the floor or through a brick wall to dig out a ball and save a volley.
Boudal is from Mougins, France, and already has made her presence known in the first week.
The Bulldogs also had big efforts Tuesday from Julia Siuta, a 6-0 freshman from Poland, and Patricia Pantoja, a 5-9 freshman from Puerto Rico, who have both fit in and added to the chemistry that help take the Bulldogs to the nationals a year ago.
Cavins knows it won’t be easy, but he has high expectations for his team, which faces a tough and demanding schedule that includes the most competitive region in the nation.
Navarro is one of five teams in the region ranked in the top 19 in the nation, and must face powerhouses from Tyler, Panola and Trinity Valley just to advance to the postseason.
Cavins is confident this group has the right talent and attitude to have another huge season.
And last year’s trip to the nationals can’t help but build confidence in a program that emerged quickly over the last two seasons.
The sophomore come back after having the priceless experience of reaching the national tournament and finishing in the top eight in the nation.
“We have a really good group of sophomore,” Cavins said. “They are all good leaders. I can’t say enough about them.”