Freshman 2014 Season

posted Nov 15, 2014, 2:54 PM by Bellaire Volleyball   [ updated May 13, 2016, 2:24 PM ]
The 2014 freshmen season started off on a very rocky note.  Tryouts did not yield a clear front runner at setter.  Additionally, a couple of the athletes were initially limited by injuries,  And, as with every group of freshman, the transition from their middle school volleyball program to into a faster and more sophisticated brand of high school volleyball, required some getting use to.  First year Freshmen Coach Kelli Tomlinson said; "It took a few weeks for our girls to grow comfortable with one another, feeling out who was willing to put her body between the floor and the ball and who was going to chase down those seemingly impossible balls"

It was a tough start for the Freshmen Team; as they went 0-5 to start the 2014 season.  Like so many things in high school, the start is often the most difficult part.  Bellaire Volleyball purposefully schedules their most difficult competitions at the beginning of the season.  The first matches are against some of the best programs in Houston.  "We want our freshmen to understand a player's mental approach to competition has a huge impact on their team’s success." said Tomlinson.  "We want them to understand very early on, in high school, everyone on the court has skills and everyone knows how to play.  You have to bring your best every time and stay mentally strong throughout the match."  In the freshman program, especially early in the season, players are in different rotations, playing multiple roles and learning a multitude of in-system attacks, out-of-system recoveries and defensive executions.  The freshmen are asked to raise their volleyball IQ and execution against very good competition - very early.  Coach Tomlinson said; "Early on, we expect to see inconsistent execution on the court; but, by the start of district, these freshmen had not shown the killer instinct at a level we expect Bellaire teams to have."

Throughout the year, the freshmen worked on playing their game; that is, being more aggressive, executing the system correctly and playing more confidentially.  Tomlinson has preached; "I don't expect every play to be successful; but, I do expect every ball to be played."   By the end of the preseason, the effort on the floor steadily improved as volleys became longer with cleaner execution.  The player rotation was stabilizing and becoming routine.  As Bellaire entered the district schedule, Coach Tomlinson continued to push her team for more competitive intensity throughout the competition; "You can't get up on a team and allow yourself to get comfortable. You have to hit them while they're down, because the good teams will slowly, but, surely chip away at you."  

This was never more apparent against rival Lamar High School.  Significantly behind in the first set, Bellaire rallied late; losing the set 24-26.  In the second set, the Cardinals fell behind again; but this time they rallied to a win 26-24.  At the start of third, tie-breaking set, the Lady Cardinals and Lamar Texans understood they were about to write another verse in the long standing rivalry between their schools.  Throughout their high school careers, players from the class of 2018 will remember this match each time they step on the court to compete again.  The Cardinal freshmen demonstrated the mental toughness, killer instinct and volleyball skills Coach Tomlinson had preached throughout the season and what Bellaire Volleyball is known for.  In the third set to 15 points, Bellaire beat Lamar 30-28; winning the match.  "That Larmar match proved everything we've been working on this year" said Coach Tomlinson.  "They finally played Bellaire Volleyball; and, I think they finally understood what it takes to play that way"

The freshman team went on to go undefeated throughout District 20-6A; only dropping sets in the two matches against Lamar.  The volleyball players from the class of 2018 recognize Bellaire Volleyball’s standard and realized the Lady Cardinal tradition of dominating every team in District 20.  Coach Tomlinson addressed team development; "In the final games, these freshmen showed great heart; more than I ever could have asked for.  I wish I had recorded them on day one and been able to show them their progression throughout the season.  Every single player made tremendous improvements, and every single player has a whole lot of which to be proud!"