Posted Date: 10/19/2023
Alexander’s Amari Randez knew the expectations when it came to playing for the Lady Bulldogs volleyball program. Randez is Alexander’s freshman setter who plays like a veteran on the court and has helped the Lady Bulldogs to a perfect 6-0 district record for the first time since 2018.
“Amari has done so well for us in our program,” Alexander head coach Ari Bermea-Mendoza said. “Being a setter is a very tough position, and she has really embraced her role. She is a huge team player and is always willing to learn.
“Our setters are the hardest working kids in the gym, and they are very coachable. That is what has helped them flourish for us as setters because they are always willing to learn. It is a huge role, and personally I put a lot of pressure on them in practice, but I know that they can handle it.”
This past Saturday, Randez finished with 19 assists and eight points to help Alexander sweep LBJ 3-0 (25-13, 25-20, 25-9) and stay atop the District 30-6A standings.
Coming into the season, Randez had to earn her spot on the team, and early in pre-district she started to see the court as Alexander navigated a tough schedule. She only started setting just four years ago as a sixth grader at United Middle School and fell in love with the position.
“Coming into the program I was very nervous, but thanks to the coaches and the girls, they were super welcoming,” Randez said. “They were able to take me in and teach me what they know. This made me a better player, and I was able to help them with my sets.”
Alexander’s junior setter Emily Buitron took Randez under her wing and knew exactly what she was going through. Three years ago, it was Buitron who was the freshman setter along with then-junior Valeria Ortiz who now plays at the college level.
Ortiz took Buitron under her wing and guided her. Buitron is now paying it forward to Randez by taking her under her wing and guiding her.
“I know exactly how Amari feels, coming in as a freshman setter,” Buitron said. “My freshman year Val helped me a lot, and I want to do the same thing for Amari. We are all a team and are in this together.”
It was not until a couple of games into pre-district play that Randez was finally able to get on the court. She was nervous, but her training and the reassurance of her teammates helped her flourish for the Lady Bulldogs.
“My teammates were great and have been great supporting me,” Randez said. “If I made a mistake, Andrea (Nunez) and MJ (Cosio) would tell me that they had my back. Their support really means a lot to me.”
Randez has grown as a player since the start of season and was a player that Bermea-Mendoza was going to count on when she arrived at Alexander.
“Amari comes into practice and ready to work,” Bermea-Mendoza said. “She is very smart, knows the game and has been around it for a while now. I remember watching her play as a middle school athlete and I was happy that she was going to come to us in the future. I knew down the road that she was going to help us at the varsity level.”