If the Trinity Valley Community College Lady Cardinals’ first win in the NJCAA national tournament Tuesday seemed a little too close for comfort, it could be because the ladies have been making things look so easy the past month.
The Lady Cardinals fell behind by double digits early before coming back to beat Weatherford yesterday, 75-70, and the difference was one possession for much of the last minute of play. It wasn’t an easy win.
But this is for a national championship and wins aren’t going to come easy.
Head Coach Elena Lovato says her team is ready for the challenge.
“We know we didn’t play great in game one,” she told me in a Facebook conversation. “Let’s chalk that up to experience and move on to the next game. I know for a fact this crew is not satisfied with just being here.”
Lovato said the team also has a little extra motivation going for it.
“We want to leave a legacy in Athens because Athens has been so good to us,” she said.
The coach said local support is reaching the team all the way in Kansas.
“It is amazing how much love and support this group of girls and I feel,” she said. “We received a few text messages and tweets from fellow coaches, athletes, and people in the community who watched the game online together.”
TVCC fans also travel well and are a force themselves in Kansas.
“The atmosphere in that gym yesterday was great,” Lovato said. “We were blessed to have a large number of Lady Card diehards that made the trip to Salina this year. Also, its pretty awesome that we have an administration that supports our athletic department so much. The cheerleaders and band were amazing.”
Next up for the Lady Cards is Blinn 1 p.m. tomorrow. This will be the fourth time the two teams have played this season, with TVCC winning all three previous meetings.
“We are going to leave it on the floor each and every night not just for each other, the school, the tradition, but for the fans – the people who have invested so much interest, care and love for this program,” Lovato said.