By Matt Hill
A new era has begun for the JCHS Volleyball Program and that also means a new attitude.
First-year coach Eric Crabtree has brought a sense of excitement back to Lady Longhorn Volleyball that hadnt been seen since Ryann Tillman and Breanna Easley wore the maroon and white.
The girls are very excited to see this season come and theyre ready to improve on a two-win season last year.
Anytime theres a change its not always bad, Crabtree said. Change re-energizes you and Im a pretty animated guy anyway so Ive brought some of that enthusiasm with me. These girls are good girls and they have their own set of enthusiasm so when you combine that theres a lot of hope.
The Lady Longhorns have responded to what Crabtree has tried to bring to the table.
A volleyball player himself, Crabtree has had no trouble bringing his ideas to these girls.
I do things a little different, he said. I do some team building things, but I believe enough in what I do and if people believe enough in what you do they follow along. If someone is there to lead them, theyll follow.
The Lady Longhorns are very devoted to this sport and that has been evident in recent months.
I like their dedication, Crabtree said. Theyve been here all summer and weve had some tough practices, but anything I tell them to do they try. Theyre always here and they want to get better. Thats all you can ask for.
The Lady Longhorns will be led by seniors Lizzie Dugger, Chelsea Fenner and newcomer Rebecca Royston, with juniors Shannon Main and Miranda Payne coming back as returning starters.
Big things will also be counted on from setters Ashley Arnold, Sara Swift, both sophomores.
The Lady Longhorns will run a 6-2 offense.
We started out in a 5-1, but a couple of weeks ago I saw we needed a couple of more hitters and we have two talented setters in Ashley Arnold and Sara Swift so were going to a 6-2.
Crabtree has very reasonable expectations in his first year.
I except a lot out of them, but at the same time I can only expect their best, he said. Right now as far as knowledge, theyre a little bit behind because I bring a little different mentality, so right now were in a learning stage, but once they learn how want it and when I want it, then expectations will go up.
Several Lady Longhorn players are practicing on their own and even before practice with Coach Crabtree. He says he will accommodate and go out of his way to do it.
I told them that I would do anything I could to make them better, Crabtree said. If someone wants to come in 30 minutes early, Ill come in 30 minutes early. If someone wants to stay 30 minutes late, Ill stay 30 minutes late.
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