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El Paso,(TX) Volleyball Player of the Week: September 24

09/26/2019, 11:30pm CDT
By Edna Rath

Congratulations to the Parkland Matadors on their sweep this last week against Riverside (3-0) on September 17, 2019. They were coming in hot with their previous win against Bel Air at 3-1. This is a really well balanced team. They have numerous key players and have great team dynamics. It is apparent that this is due to the 2 captains (both are seniors), #5 – Damaris Aguilar and #7 – Shelby Ballard, remaining on the court as all around players supporting each other as well as their teammates. They may very well be El Paso’s well best-kept secrets.

It is TRUE… Dynamite comes in small packages. Parkland High Senior #5 – Damaris Aguilar – is an outside hitter and setter for this Lady Matador team. She is such an explosive player and averages 17-18 assists per game but that is just the half of it. It was amazing to watch her hit and break through almost every block put up against this 5’1 all around Lady Matador.

There is nothing she can’t do – set, hit, and dig. She has been playing volleyball since she was eleven years old; this past season she played on the 17U club team for TOP. She is open to attending any college with the hopes of continuing to play volleyball and would like to study Nutrition Therapy and Dietetics. This young athlete is super upbeat and committed to her team and the sport of volleyball. She says she hasn’t always been a starter, so when she is given any opportunity to play, she is determined to help her team win. When asked about a tremendous win she said, “We wanted to make a good come out for play offs and (chuckle) coach really wanted this particular win.”

When the Parkland Matadors pull out the “Big Guns” – you know that means that Senior Middle Blocker/Outside Hitter and Captain #7 – Shelby Ballard is on the court. She stands tall at 6’0 and averages 13-15 kills per game. Please let me put out this warning – do not let her size fool you. She is quick and powerful. She does not discriminate – she puts down 5’s and 8’s just as quickly as she puts down 1’s. Her agility is displayed when she plays back row, with perfect passes and controlled digs. This is definitely rare to see in a middle blocker.

Can you believe that this is not her sport? She says that she is naturally good at softball but volleyball was a challenge because she feels she started late. She started playing when she entered eighth grade and has never played club volleyball. This young lady is a true athlete – she understands that her role on the court is important because her teammates feed off of her. Her role as captain is to be a good listener and give advice to her fellow Matadors as to what they should do and always cheer them on. When asked about this sweep against Riverside High School she said, “I have faith in my team mates! We are a strong hitting team and we know how to fight through adversity. Definitely hands down to this offense!” She would like to attend a good university with a nice environment and welcomes the opportunity to play volleyball or softball or both. On a personal note and as a coach myself, I will say that she is a great role model. It was impressive to see a young volleyball player (probably in middle school) with her parent come up to speak to her about the game. She was respectful and polite as she listened and gave the child some words of encouragement.