It did not matter to the Euless Trinity High volleyball team that they lost to El Paso Franklin High in a tournament earlier this month. The former gained new friends in the latter, albeit under sad circumstances.
Both squads now have an unbreakable bond thanks to the Trojans’ heartwarming gesture in response to the Aug. 3 tragedy at a Wal-Mart in the West Texas city of 680,000 that claimed 22 lives. The Trinity players made cards and wristbands for their counterparts in a show of respect, compassion and camaraderie.
“Going into the tournament, one of our parents created a small card and it had a picture of the State of Texas,” head coach Mia Langi explained. “It [has] Euless, our area, and also El Paso and it says, ‘Strong’ across it. And on the back, the girls shared their handles for Twitter, SnapChat, and Instagram. [They] just reached out to the girls in El Paso telling them, ‘If you guys need a friend, you have one in Euless.’”
Langi added that the Trojans plan to reach out to other El Paso high schools.
“The girls are mindful of what’s going on around them, so they already have a loving spirit and come from strong households with loving parents,” she said. “It was just another example of just being grateful and having a heart of gratitude. It’s humbling … because they were all crying. We don’t know each other, but coaches were hugging each other, athletes were hugging each other. The El Paso athletes started crying just because they felt the love. Despite our loss, it didn’t matter. These young ladies showed up and played with so much heart, and they beat us. But that didn’t stop us from saying, ‘Hey, we’re here for you.’”
The coach believes that the experience will help her players grow up to become wonderful people.
Moving forward with the 2019 season, Euless Trinity hopes to achieve consistency. Langi said it is a goal for the program to close out games with a victory by the time it enters district competition.
She expressed pride in how the Trojans are improving game by game.
“They’re just wanting to get better,” Langi said. “We have a young team, but the leadership from our seniors is helping out a lot. And the support of the parents is helping. The girls are playing hard. They’re still learning a lot about the game.”
Seniors Andrea Malek and Alana Rada serve the roles of elder stateswomen. The duo’s experience is complemented by the emerging junior trio of Jacee Stelter, Delaney Torres and Brooke Barclay-Kau.
“The great thing about this team this year is that they’re a special team,” Langi said. “They’re so versatile. So many of the players can play different positions. So, if we get in a rut, I’m able to just move them to whatever side of the court I want them to go to.”
According to the coach, the players get along so well and push each other to get better.