Entering her 43rd year at the helm of the Bellville Brahmanette volleyball program, Susan Brewer’s thoughts remain set on the same thing.
“I’d like to be playing for that championship,” she said. “That’s always the same thought process and it never gets old, never. Volleyball is the No. 1 sport in Texas, more kids started that Aug. 1 than ever have before and it’s become more competitive, everyone wants a piece of that UIL gold medal.”
Last year, the state runner-up Needville Lady Jays stepped in the way of Bellville’s shot and therein remains some “unfinished business.”
“Last year we lost to Needville in the third round and I think we didn’t go out playing the very best we could have that night and I think right now there should be some unfinished business in their (players) minds like it is mine,” she said.
The team’s demeanor, Brewer explained, could play right into that thought process.
“My group of seniors has always been business-like,” she said. “Yes, they are enthusiastic, they love the sport, but they have a high standard of what they’re trying to achieve on the court at all times. Sometimes people will look at them and say they’re on a mission.”
The coach has seven seniors leading the way this year and with the proper complementing underclassmen, she feels as though the team’s strength is in its balance.
“I have the seven seniors, nine returners, we’ve been able to work a lot on volleyball,” Brewer said. “Mackenzie Morgan was an all-star this summer at outside hitter, she’s a senior and committed to Texas Tech, a big part of our offense.
“Sadie Mckay, who played a lot of front row for me last year, now she’s our six-rotation player her defense has improved tremendously,” added Brewer. “Libero Daelyn Warmke, who dug over 1,000 balls last year, she’s very aggressive and makes a lot of things happen. ‘I’m the captain of the defense,’ is her mentality and I love that about that young lady.
“Then I have two senior setters, Tatum Rowe and Chandler Wehring, both of those girls know what we’re trying to achieve,” the coach said. “Robbin Rice moved from the middle to the outside and I have the younger Morgan, Madison, in the middle.”
Brewer said she likes the balance on the team this season.
“I think it’s the total package team-wise. I think our defense will be more solid, kind of the swarm and attack, a little bit of a killer-bee attitude,” Brewer said. “First contact is always so important in volleyball, being able to serve the ball in a certain location, speed that’s kind of a signature for each player. We’re trying to improve upon that as well as our passing so that we can run the offense, you can be loaded up with good hitters but if you don’t get that first one a lot of things aren’t going to happen.”
She expanded on that offense that the Brahmanettes hope to run this year possibly going against some tradition.
“(We’re trying to) speed up our play a little bit, we’ve always been known to run a slower offense with big hitters so we’re trying to change that image a little bit,” Brewer said.
They will look to do that against plenty of familiar and formidable opponents who always make things a little more interesting.
“Our district is going to be tough, we have Caldwell, La Grange, those are two nice competitors and they’re always hungry for a piece of that district championship,” said Brewer. “I think we just need to play the preseason and get prepared as solid as we can and hope we come out feeling really confident and play our district games.”
No matter where the course to the postseason may lead, Brewer can hang her hat on the way this group operates.
“I love my kids, they’re fun and they’re challenging,” she said. “It’s great when you can go into practice and you can throw different drills and challenges, mini-games at them and they respond well. They always have, that’s what makes things fun for any coach.”