Highland Lakes volleyball players begin practices Aug. 1

STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO

MARBLE FALLS — Area high school volleyball players have Aug. 1 circled because that’s when their summer vacation ends.

The athletes will be in gymnasiums across Burnet and Llano counties practicing for the upcoming season, which starts Aug. 8.

In Marble Falls, that signals the annual grudge match between the Lady Mustangs and the Lady Dawgs of Burnet High School. The sub-varsities play at 4 p.m. with the varsity following at 5 p.m. at Marble Falls High School, 2101 Mustang Drive.

But first, Marble Falls will host a scrimmage Friday, Aug. 4, against Llano, Johnson City, and Lampasas. The Lady Jackets and the Lady Mustangs take the court in controlled scrimmages at 8:30 a.m. at Max Copeland Gym, 2101 Mustang Drive in Marble Falls.

Johnson City and Lampasas follow at 9:20 a.m. with Johnson City playing Llano at 10:10 a.m. followed by Marble Falls and Lampasas at 11 a.m., Llano and Lampasas at 11:50 a.m., and Marble Falls and Johnson City finishing the morning session at 12:40 p.m.

Live scrimmages follow in the afternoon.

To help the Lady Mustangs prepare for a grueling pre-district schedule, they’ll go through the volleyball circuit during fall camp, which is a series of sprints at different distances. It’s designed to help with explosion and conditioning. The first practice of training camp is 6 a.m. Tuesday at the high school.

“Volleyball players have to have quick, short explosions,” Marble Falls head coach Jessica Withrow said. “They have to have endurance and be on their feet constantly.”

Withrow, who is beginning her second year leading the program, said the players know what she expects.

“The girls know me now,” she said. “I hope they have higher expectations among themselves. I want to see them be consistent.”

She hopes to see a group of excited players who are motivated and ready to compete during the pre-district season in preparation for District 26-5A.

She looks forward to working with the returners led by senior hitter Aubree Adams. Other seniors include Macy Dyer, Trinity Ware, Brianna Little, and Kaylynn Nason.

Withrow was equally enthusiastic about the freshmen. She noted many of them participated in the Lady Mustangs strength-and-conditioning summer program.

Faith Academy will take the gym floor at 11 a.m. Tuesday. Frances Flanagan, who also is entering her second year at the school, said players will have a better understanding of her system and expectations.

She believes the setters will be improved, which is vital to an offense. Setters must match hitters to blockers to end rallies.

Flanagan said many of the Lady Flames have taken advantage of open gyms.

“Most of them will be in shape,” she said. “I’ve seen some of them. They’ve been working hard.”

With the Lady Flames coming to practices in shape, Flanagan will be able to spend more time teaching and correcting and less time trying to increase the players’ endurances for rallies.

“We’ll do more drill work and fundamentals,” the coach said.

The season begins at the Tri-Match at Kerrville Our Lady of the Hills, 235 Peterson Farm Road in Kerrville, at 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11.

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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