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Lady Tigers volleyball ready for strong 2013

By Tony Adams

Sports Editor

The Belton Lady Tigers volleyball started their preseason camps on Monday in preparation for a pair of weekend scrimmages and Monday evening regular season, non-district game against Round Rock Stony Point at Tiger Gym.

Belton head coach Stacy Meyers returns for her second season at the helm, following her assumption of a 2011 squad that won a single game in district and five for the season to finish last season in the top four of the District 8-5A mix in 2012.

“The girls are excited to be here and are already working hard,” said Meyers. “The girls want to get in and get better, so it makes the task to be better than last year easier. They are very motivated this year. They’re excited about the season. They know that we’ve lost a lot but others are stepping up to contribute.”

The Lady Tigers return eight varsity letters, seven of which are seniors on the 2013 team. The duties of leadership fall on the shoulders of the returners.

“It’s my responsibility to be a vocal leader,” said senior Kinsey Williams. “It was my role last year as well. Because we lost five seniors from last year’s team, it’s especially important. I have to carry on my leadership and take it to the next level. Because we’ll have new players on the court with us, I’ll develop a relationship with them on and off the court so we will have great communication.”

“We are more intense this year,” said junior McKinzee Robinson. “We count on each other and have good relationships.”

“Kinsey is high energy and the girls feed off of that,” said Meyers. “She’s going to be the spark plug of this team, no doubt. She is outspoken and puts her money where her mouth is. She leads by actions, not just by words. We have other leaders who are quiet leaders.”

The summer weight training and conditioning program really helped the players in the summer months.

“It’s amazing to visually see our kids this year as opposed to last year,” said Meyers. “They’re fit. They lost some of the baby fat and they are toned. We’re working hard and jumping better. The difference in the kids that have put in the time in the summer workouts is in the mental toughness. If it’s a tough game and a tight game, they’re going to battle through it. They know that they count on their teammates as well. The physical maturity is obvious, but the mental toughness is what shows and is a huge benefit.”

The two scrimmages will be key to exposing flaws and fixing them before Monday night’s tilt against Stony Point.

“This group is very coach-able, so we can fix anything we may see in the scrimmages in preparation for Monday night,” said Meyers. “We won’t have Monica (Gonzales) until Monday, so we will have to adjust our lineup on Friday and Saturday. We’ll get glimpses of what we’ll look like down the road.”

Much in the way 2012 was a wind of change for the Belton volleyball, as far as adjustments and a renewed attitude are concerned, 2013 has been an easier sell of Meyers’ program.

“As a sophomore in 2011, I saw what it was like not to buy into a coach’s program and how we lost,” said Williams. “We were losing every game and that wasn’t fun. We’re on varsity. Varsity is supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be your best years. When Coach Meyers got here, she taught us how to win. She is such a great person and a great coach. Who wouldn’t want to buy into her program? She is such a positive person and coach. She taught us a different mindset on wanting to win, working hard and giving it all we’ve got.”

“Our varsity is a great group of kids and they have bought in to the program early,” said Meyers. “The girls know I have high expectations. They know that if something does not get done in practice, I don’t have to tell them about it. They drop, do the push ups, get back up and get the job done. So on the other courts, the sub-varsity sees what is going on. They see that this is what we do here. It sends a message. They hold my expectations over the younger kids. That’s the way they sell the program.”

The girls expect to see good competition in preparation for district.

“We are certainly going to set the bar high in working up to district,” said Williams. “We know we’ll see very solid competition. We want to work on our skills and get our chemistry high. We know that you have to have good chemistry first and then the team skills will follow. We know that offense will put people in the seats, but defense will win championships.”