In this month’s Then & Now series we travel back to 2013.
The Midwestern State volleyball team was coming off a frustrating seven-win season. They went on to win 17 games in 2013. It still stands as the Mustangs best season since 2008 when they went 25-9.
It doesn’t matter who you talk to on the MSU volleyball team, everyone is saying the same thing – this is their year. After the 2012 season ended with a ninth place finish in the LSC and without a trip to the postseason, head coach Venera Flores-Stafford says the team re-focussed and that this group is much different from the 2012 squad.
“This years team is fantastic,” says Flores-Stafford. “Their work ethic is tremendous. They’ve come out every day and surpassed everything that I’ve asked them to do. And they have great attitudes and they’re competitive. So that’s all I can ask.”
Back for the Mustangs in 2013 is All-LSC middle blocker Caitlin Wallace. Wallace received second-team honors in 2012. She says the key to the Mustangs success in 2013 is all about chemistry.
“I think a lot of our strength is we clicked from day one,” said Wallace. “So everyone is really comfortable with each other. We almost complete each other. It’s like where one person isn’t so great, there’s another person to fill in.”
If the Mustangs are to make a run at the conference title they’ll need Wallace and Beatriz Villalba to both have big years. Coach Flores-Stafford says she’s excited about what her senior leaders bring to the table starting with Villalba, a transfer with a history of winning.
The Mustangs opened the season with the McMurry Warhawks at the MSU Hampton Innvitational before facing Northwestern Oklahoma.
Venera Flores-Stafford is now working for the City of Arlington Parks & Rec department. She spends her free time taking her daughter Taytum to ballet and tennis lessons.
Beatriz Villalba is back home in Arizona with her siberian husky Jenna. She says she has renewed her relationship with Jesus Christ and is working somewhere she never imagined – an early learning center.
Caitlin Wallace graduated from MSU with a degree in exercise physiology and then earned a Master’s Degree in sports management from West Texas A&M.
In June of 2016 she married Stephan Lamberson. And they’ve chosen to adopt (a dog). His name is Titus.
Caitlin finished her career at MSU fourth on the career list with 304 total blocks. And she is the last Mustangs player to earn first team All-Lone Star Conference honors.