There was one glaring request that Wharton volleyball coach Erica Garza expected during the first day of practice that began for numerous girls who tried out for the program – communication.
In the friendly confines of the Wharton High School gymnasium on Thursday, Aug. 1, Garza repeatedly shouted to older and new players that they needed to communicate. It didn’t matter if they were going through offensive and defensive routines, or agility drills.
There were 25 players who came on the first day of practice. Garza was told in advance of others who were not going to make it the first day due to personal reasons.
With that many players reporting, it is Garza’s plan, as well as assistant coaches Jael Ramirez and first-year coach Kelli Treybig to field not only a junior varsity, but a freshman team, too.
Some of these players competed in summer leagues throughout Wharton County and played against teams they will face in either tournaments or district competition.
Garza said the drills that are taught to the players teach basics and volleyball fundamentals. The cone drills, for example, when applied correctly, can enhance a player’s speed, placement, and agility in a game.
But Garza reiterated that communication is key and supporting each other as teammates is important, too. In some cases, the less experienced players who will make up the JV and possibly freshman team led by coach Ramirez appeared to be more vocal and cheered each other on.
Garza is confident the varsity players will catch on.
Now that the University Interscholastic League has permitted practices to begin, the Lady Tigers began playing competitively immediately.
They had a scrimmage against Palacios on the road. Wharton fielded three teams, varsity, JV and freshman.
Wharton played its first game against Rosenberg Terry on Tuesday, Aug. 6.
They will then host Lamar Consolidated on Friday, Aug. 9.
Garza said she has a good number of returners playing for a varsity program that last year didn’t win a district game. She is confident that the Lady Tigers won’t have the same fate as the 2018 squad.
Wharton competes in District 25-4A with Sealy, Fulshear, Stafford, Brookshire Royal, Needville and El Campo.
According to the Texas Girls Coaches Association state preseason poll, Needville is ranked No. 2 and Fulshear No. 6 in Class 4A. No other teams from the Houston area are ranked among the best in the state, according to the TGCA.