Wednesday, October 17, 2018
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20180925 Volleyball PSJASW vs SHSWhen the volleyball is set, Sharyland’s Estefania Hinojosa begins her attack becoming airborne as eyes in the crowd widen, and when her powerful swing connects with the ball sending it soaring onto the opponent’s side of the net for a kill, gasps and whispers of “did you see that?” spread across the gym.

Over the past four years, the senior outside hitter has perfected the art of the kill, and on Tuesday night, an excited home crowd witnessed Hinojosa reach a milestone moment as she recorded her 1,000th career kill, becoming the first in Sharyland history to accomplish the feat.

“It feels great,” she said. “I feel very honored and I feel like I’ve improved a lot over the years, and I’m not going to settle with 1,000, I’m going to keep going.”

Hinojosa entered Tuesday night’s match against PSJA Southwest needing 28 kills to reach 1,000 in her career. A homemade poster counting down each kill until hitting the century mark let everyone know when the moment was approaching, and early in the fourth set, it happened.

A dig by Tristen Maddox bounced to Ana Paola Cerda setting the ball for Hinojosa who delivered a spike that found a clearing on the floor for her 1,000th kill.

The crowd erupted and held up volleyball signs on popsicle sticks reading “1000 kills”, party poppers went off and confetti fell as everybody celebrated her big moment.

Then, it was back to finishing off PSJA Southwest. The Lady Rattlers capped off the big night by winning a five-set thriller 3-2 (22-25, 25-20, 25-20, 18-25, 15-9). Estefania finished the game with 38 kills.

“I was very touched by all the fans and my teammates cheering, it really meant a lot to me,” she said.

As a four-year letterman, Hinojosa started racking up kills from the jump. In her freshman season, she recorded 47 kills and followed that up with 142 kills as a sophomore. Then her numbers ballooned as she posted 466 kills last year as a junior. In her final season, the senior currently has 355 kills with eight district games remaining on the schedule, not including playoffs, which the Lady Rattlers should be a lock to qualify for.

Sharyland Volleyball Head Coach Raul Castillo has coached Hinojosa for all four years and seen her blossom into a force to be reckoned with.

“That spectrum, as a freshman, you could tell that she was the new kid on the block,” Castillo said. “She was still tall, still trying to learn the game, but the growth has been exponential and she just took off. She fell in love with the game and that’s what helped.”

The majority of Hinojosa’s kills throughout her career came off the hands of family as her cousin, senior and four-year letterman Aydee Hinojosa, has grown into the team’s leading setter, while Estefania leads the Lady Rattlers attack at the net. The two have played together since junior high and on Tuesday night, it was Aydee setting up the game-winning kill for Estefania to hammer home, something Sharyland fans have become accustomed to seeing.

“We were all excited for her, we all wanted to win, but we all wanted her to meet her goal tonight,” said Aydee Hinojosa. “I appreciate it and I’m happy for all the celebration and what the crowd did for her.”

Estefania loves that she’s able to share these moments on the court with family.

“It’s awesome that I have family on my team,” Estefania said. “If anything happens, I can just go to her, and especially in this game, when she set me up for the game-winning kill, it was an amazing feeling.”

With her name in the record books, she could be content, but the Lady Rattlers’ leader and her 1,010 kills are chasing more.

“I’m so motivated to try to reach our goal and win district,” she said.

Estefania and the Sharyland Lady Rattlers are back in action with two road games this week against PSJA Memorial and Palmview before coming home to host the Roma Lady Gladiators on Oct. 6 at 7 p.m.