Although the Sealy Lady Tigers made the volleyball playoffs last year, their stay in the tournament was not long-lived and that has not escaped the mind of a team that only lost four seniors from last year.
The 2019 offseason presented a host of new challenges, chief among them was a new baby girl residing in the home of head coach Kim Boyd and although that kept her away from her team a little longer, the energy levels did not decrease in that time.
“Practice has been going well, the energy level is nice and high. I haven’t seen them all summer because of the baby but they’re super enthusiastic, very excited that I’m back and to show me what they’ve been working on all summer and throughout the offseason,” Boyd said after Monday morning’s first session.
Those practices also served as a tune-up before the first regular-season games with Paetow and Boling scheduled for the next day.
Also in preparation of the season, the Lady Tigers got on the court for a scrimmage against Needville last Saturday and although there was some extra height on the opposite side of the net, Sealy soon realized they’re indeed used to that gap.
“We weren’t afraid to go up against the tall hitters. They were intimidated at first but they saw they were just as capable especially since we have three six-foot-tall girls ourselves,” Boyd said. “Once they got that in their head that, ‘Oh wait, I play against this every single day,’ it wasn’t as intimidating.”
Boyd was right back to work with a similarly small senior class, again only four soon-to-be graduates, but all of whom have played meaningful sets so far.
“We have returners Zoee Jeffrey and Raegan Newsome and Alexi Kulhanek set for us on JV last year and got pulled up for playoffs,” said the coach. “They are a very fun group. They’re doing a great job of not just including the kids on varsity but the overall program with the younger girls and how the program should be run with full enthusiasm, including everyone with games and different bonding experiences. We also have a move-in, Hailey Reese, who will be one of our hitters.”
On top of those returning starters, a solid junior class bolsters the program with eight members of the class of 2021 holding down a roster spot in 2019, as focused as ever.
“We talked about it in the offseason that we need to stay all-in, all the time and so we decided to stay with that as the overall theme for the program this year,” Boyd said. “All-in, all the time, so we don’t shut down in practices, we don’t shut down in the fifth set, we go in hard the whole time.”