By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
There’s another Port Isabel High athletic program that will start practice next Monday and that would be the volleyball team. The Press found head coach Julie Breedlove at the athletic offices this week to find out how preparations for the new season are coming along.
“Of course I’m excited,” Breedlove said Tuesday. “I’m really looking forward to this year. We’ve got a lot of good girls coming back and a lot of kids coming up from the junior high, so it’s always an exciting time of the year.”
Some high school programs participate in summer league but this year Port Isabel was not one of them. “It’s a matter of timing and getting everything together, and getting all the kids ready,” Breedlove said. “We had so many kids doing softball, other leagues and cheerleading, and we never could quite co-ordinate that.”
Not that Lady Tarpon volleyball players have been totally inactive this summer. “We’ve had open gym all summer and the weight room’s been open all summer.”
Breedlove has been busy lately working on the schedule and other things that cannot be neglected; “We’ll start pulling equipment out and probably inventory our uniforms, make sure we’ve got all the balls aired up, and make sure the nets are in good shape. Then we have to make sure we’ve got all the games covered with officials.”
I asked Coach Breedlove how much time is spent reviewing the rules. “Most of it is covered during practice time. If we see something that isn’t legal – we’re always telling the kids, ‘That’s not legal. You’ve got to make sure you do it this way or that way, or if you’re going to do that you’ve got to do it this way so it doesn’t look illegal.’ The little things that can get us, like carries and being out of rotation, and basic points of emphasis – making sure that they’re mindful that, ‘I can do this with my hand but if I do that … they’re going to call it.’”
This is Breedlove’s third season as the head volleyball coach at Port Isabel and her teams were district champions the first two. She returns six varsity players from last year’s team, four of whom were starters. “Then I have the three that were moved up for playoffs. They’ll be back as well. The other two returners saw significant court time last year.”
Breedlove reports that this year the team will spend more time on conditioning and in the weight room. “A lot of that first week is going to be about fundamentals – passing fundamentals. I’m pretty much a fundamental kind of gal. (It’s about) passing to the target and putting our center in a good spot to run the offense. So we’ll be spending a lot of time on passing and just getting used to being on the court.”
The regular season schedule is still a work in progress. Two scrimmages will take place at the end of next week, both on the road. The team will go to Los Fresnos on Saturday (Aug. 8) for a scrimmage match with the Lady Falcons. The opponent for next Friday’s scrimmage has yet to be determined.
“We’ve got a lot of kids that are ready to work hard and push themselves, so it’ll be an exciting season.
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