ODESSA, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – Boasting a 17-3 record, Compass Academy is the 21st-ranked 3A team in Texas.

Not bad for a program that’s only in its fifth year of existence and third year of UIL recognition.

While the team is certainly happy about the ranking, they’re far from satisfied.

“I’m super excited about it. I’m pumped, but I think that we also need to keep in mind that we’re still working and we can always do better,” said senior libero Madison Molinar. “I feel like that’s what we’re working on right now is just trusting each other and not worrying about the rank or anything like that, worrying about doing our thing on the court.”

The Lady Cougars are led by the only coach in program history, Christina Bush, who has guided the team’s rise. They’ve come a long way from their first years when opposing teams didn’t even know who they were.

“You have to earn everyone’s respect right now. They do not respect you. They do not know you,” said Bush recalling what she would tell her team before games. “Just with that, you just give them that inch of advice. I think they’ve earned quite a few people’s respect.”

Bush has been with the current seniors since they were in eighth grade establishing a special relationship with her players along the way.

“I feel like she cares a lot about us and our program and us as people, and she cares about what goes on in our lives,” said Molinar. “She’s like a mom. She tells us what to do and what not to do, and she tells us when to focus and when we’re not getting focused. She cares about us a lot.”

“She’s extremely supportive no matter what you do, we love her,” said senior outside hitter and setter Carleigh Jones. “I treat them as if they’re my own children. I wouldn’t treat them any different,” said Bush. “Their expectations, everything that I would want for my own kids, I expect the same out of them.”

The Lady Cougars have lost in the first round of the playoffs in each of the last two seasons setting their expectations for this season.

“We really want to be first in district and we want to win a playoff game finally,” said Jones. “We’ve talked about a gold ball. I think now they want they gold ball more so than I do. But it’s still my goal,” said Bush.

Playing for a school entering only its second decade of existence means many people outside the school don’t know much about Compass Academy at all.

Now they are known for something. Volleyball.

“It feels really good, especially just to know that we’re making history here and we’re the first really big varsity team,” said Jones on representing Compass Academy. “We always think about that. We’re representing our Cougar family and this whole school is a family and they all support us.”

“They have worked to establish this tradition here at Compass Academy, along with myself, they are laying the foundation for this volleyball program and they’re a blessed group of girls,” said Bush.

The Lady Cougars open district play on the road when they travel to play Merkel on Saturday. Compass will host Denver City for their first district home game on Tuesday.