WAXAHACHIE — Life Waxahachie High School's freshmen, junior varsity and varsity volleyball seasons — as well as the precursor Aug. 1 tryouts at LWHS Gymnasium — are a stone's throw away.
The Sept. 8 district opener against Alvarado High School and the Lady Indians is not far behind.
"We want players that are coachable and will put in the effort necessary to move our program in the right direction," said Nancy Moore, the Lady Mustangs' head coach. "You don't have to be the most talented player, but you have to work hard. Sometimes a hard worker can succeed where a more talented player with less than desirable work ethic will fail."
She said is looking to fill 7-8 spots on the varsity roster from a pool of returning talent.
The tryouts, which require a UIL-certified physical to attend, will run from Aug. 1 to Aug. 2 and be held at the 8-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. sessions. Moore and her staff will release the teams and announce the three team captains at 3:30 p.m.
Athletes must arrive at the gymnasium at 7 a.m. on the first day to turn in required paperwork.
Parents and athletes will also need to complete the Emergency Liability Waiver, UIL Athletic Pledge and make the $75 athletic payment via the Rank One Sports' website. If families have multiple children, the cost is $25 for each additional athlete.
At 7 a.m. on Thursday, there will be an ImPACT test session. It is mandatory for all prospective players new to LWHS and for sophomore and junior athletes. According to the research organization's website, ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), which comes via baseline and post-injury analyses, is a scientifically validated computerized neurocognitive test used by more than 7,400 high schools and 1,000 colleges and universities to help evaluate and manage suspected concussions.
Per company records, more 7.5 million athletes have taken the ImPACT test.
The teams will scrimmage at 9 a.m. on Friday in preparation for the Saturday full scrimmage at Princeton High School.
Moore and her new team will look to rebound from 16-18 overall and 4-8 District 8-4A records and a fifth place finish in 2016. They will also try to build on the momentum of early last season when they won four consecutive games against Blum, Benbrook, Life Oak Cliff and University High Schools by a combined 8-0 margin.
They also won five of their first eight games.
Therein, Moore said, may lie hope, as well as the map of the Lady Mustangs future.
"I only lost three seniors last year and played two freshmen on varsity last year," she continued. "We've got three incoming players that were award winners and have been playing varsity since they were freshmen."
Life Waxahachie is expected to return seven seniors, three juniors and 10 sophomores from last year's program, as well as an incoming freshmen class. After the smoke clears from the tryout battles, the freshmen team roster may have a trio of transfers from Ovilla Christian and Palmer High Schools.
One of those returning players, incoming senior Giovanna Charles was named to the All-District First Team and incoming junior Anna Woodard was named to the All-District Second Team. Incoming senior Ariana Robinson was an All-District Honorable Mention.
"They want [to go to the playoffs]. They're ready to get into the season. It's all the girls have been talking about all summer," Moore said. "They'll need to be more competitive in regards to not giving up. If two or three girls were down in a game last season, the entire team would be down. That was a consequence of youth and inexperience. I think when the season starts, they'll show how much they've improved from last season."
Marcus S. Marion, @MarcusMarionWNI