On the Court: Lady Cats wasting no time in getting ready for Saturday’s scrimmage

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

Aug. 9, 2007 - Rachel Curtis has seen the Sulphur Springs volleyball girls for four days. On Saturday, she'll get her best look at them.

Curtis, the new head volleyball coach at SSHS, will take the team to Wills Point on Saturday for a four-team scrimmage with Mabank, Terrell and Wills Point. Following a scrimmage next Tuesday against Mount Vernon, the Lady Cats will open the regular season in the McKinney North tournament the following Friday.

That's not a lot of time for Curtis to implement her system, but she has been encouraged by the willingness of the girls to be taught.

"I've seen a good group of hard-working girls, coachable and willing to learn," Curtis said. "They're going all-out, every practice. We're able to get some positioning and teams picked. I think we'll be ready for Saturday."

She will put the girls on tentative JV, varsity and freshmen teams for Saturday's scrimmage. Then, it will be up to the girls to prove they can execute what they are learning in practice.

"I'm going to be looking to see which girls will step up to their positions," she commented. "I am placing girls in some different positions than last year, and I just want to see who can handle it."

Curtis said the practices have been heavy on conditioning, positioning and passing skills. The girls are also learning the "floater" serve, which is different from the top-spin serve they are accustomed to.

"This serve is a real aggressive serve, and I believe you can win a lot of games with it," she explained. "The ball moves side-to-side in the air as well as coming down. A top-spin serve is real easy to defend because you can get lucky and pop it up. A floater is a little more difficult to defend. Once you learn it, it's more accurate."

The Lady Cats are also learning how to become better passers.

"If you can't pass, you can't do much else, so we're really focused on that," Curtis said. "It sounds like such a basic skill, but I want to be a good passing team."

Part of passing is being in the right position, and Curtis is emphasizing to the players the importance of being in the correct spot when the ball is in the air.

"That's the hardest part about volleyball. I think people think volleyball is just bump, set, spike. But, volleyball has a lot of movements," she said, "so it's a big mental game."

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