Curtis begins reign with Lady Cats volleyball

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Aug. 3, 2007 - Rachel Curtis knows how to whip things into shape. When she and her husband, Braughn, moved into Sulphur Springs this summer, they renovated a house in a couple of weeks.

That's about how she'll have to get the Lady Cat volleyball team into playing shape as well, starting Monday.

The Lady Cats' freshmen through varsity players are scheduled to get practices underway at 8 a.m. Monday. They will practice from 8-12 each day the first week, with it ending in a three-way scrimmage on Saturday at Wills Point. Their first game is Aug. 16.

The Lady Cats will be under new head coach Rachel Curtis, who came from Rowlett, with Eric Buck coaching JV and Kendra Trantham heading up the freshmen team.

Curtis takes over for Christi Funk, who requested a teaching-only job after the birth of her first child last year. Curtis said the players can expect to work on fundamentals.

"In the practices, we'll be working on basic fundamentals," she said. "I'm a fundamentals coach and you'll see that throughout the season. We'll be doing team meetings during that time, weight lifting and resistance training. We'll be mostly getting them in condition.

As far her schemes go, Curtis said the Lady Cats would likely run a 6-2 or a 5-1, and she would be teaching them the floater serve. She will be working with the middle school staff to put the same schemes in place there.

"I'm looking forward to building the program from the middle school up," she explained. "I look forward to working with the middle school coaches and getting all the girls on the same page so that when they come into high school they know our system and they are trained and ready to go."

While she hasn't seen any film from last year, Curtis was able to watch about 65 girls who came to the middle school and high school camps, plus she has had an open gym the last two weeks for girls to come in and play.

"I do know from camp most of the girls who are coming back. I am looking forward to it," she said. "I think we have a very high potential of going far.

"I think one of their biggest strengths is their attitude. They've got a positive attitude, they're willing to work hard, and with that, you can do anything."

One of the team's disadvantages will be height. They may not have a player over 6-0.

"Most of them are pretty well-rounded. We may not be real tall, but we're real well-rounded. Anyone of them can hit," Curtis explained. "I believe with hard work and attitude, you can make up for any disadvantage in height."

The Lady Cats will have a scrimmage at home against Mount Vernon on Aug. 14, then open the regular season Aug. 16-18 in the McKinney North tournament. The District 11-4A season opens Sept. 18 against Texas High.

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