Feel the breeze blowing through Ellis County the last couple of days?
It was created by the Waxahachie Lady Indian varsity volleyball team.
Since Monday, Aug. 1, the Lady Indians have been on a whirlwind ride starting the 2011 volleyball season with two complete weeks of schedules, games and events.
Waxahachie opened the season with tryouts Aug. 1-3 before taking part in a three-hour practice Thursday, July 4, and following it up with fundraiser duties.
Once the teams were official, the Lady Indians crammed media day, impact testing and scrimmages at Duncanville into Friday, Aug. 5, before traveling to Plano on Saturday, Aug. 6, for scrimmages against Plano West and Creekview.
Last Sunday the Lady Indians took a little time away from the court, but did not leave thoughts of volleyball behind as the team gathered for a pool party and sleepover.
Monday was another whirlwind day as it marked the official opening of the season. The girls in green and white played host to rival Midlothian in the season opener before supporting injured teammate Tori Bingham after the game with a meal at Chick-fil-A.
Pushing themselves to the limit, Waxahachie traveled 120 miles round-trip to Lake Dallas Tuesday for game No. 2 before practicing for only the second time as a team Wednesday. After Wednesday’s practice the team stayed together for a four-hour car wash at Chicken Express to raise funds for Bingham.
Tuesday’s trip was outdone by Thursday’s journey as the Lady Indians traveled to Denton to take part in a tournament that witnessed the team playing in three games with the first starting at 9 a.m.
Following a tough practice Friday, the Lady Indians made the 140-mile round-trip back to Denton Saturday for the final two games of the Denton Ryan Kick-off Classic.
Maybe, the girls are resting today.
“As always, they are tired after that first week. They have just been going nonstop and we told them how important it was to get their rest, eat right and take care of themselves,” Waxahachie head coach Sandy Faussett-Stoops said. “A lot of their thinking is on Tori right now and they want to be there for her as much as possible. They are trying to balance that with an already hectic schedule and they are getting tired, much more so than in the past.”
The 13 straight days of activities can be tough but the players are taking it in stride.
“I feel like it is harder to keep up with everything this season because when I am not in volleyball I am up at the hospital and then I have to do school work. It is real crazy, but I have to be there for Tori,” second-year varsity libero Lacie Tucker said. “We have been real tired, but I think we are recovering now that the first week is over.”
Six players are starting the season with the varsity for the first time, and despite the crazy schedule, are enjoying the experience.
“It’s been great,” Ashlyn Risk said. “The team has been welcoming. We go hard every single practice and nothing excites me more than being on this team and achieving the goals we have this year. It has been very busy, but I am very excited about what is going on.”
While the players are adjusting from a relaxed summer schedule to the volleyball season on Red Bull, they must weather two more weeks of tournaments before normality sets in.
“It is always a real tough first few weeks to start the volleyball season. It will slow down right after we finish our third tournament (Aug. 27). We go the next two weekends with tournaments before we will have some more time to work on some things,” Faussett said.
The tiring pace to start the season has shown on the court in a couple of games and was one of the contributing factors in the team’s first loss of the season that came at the hands of Decatur on Thursday.
“It is easier to accept a loss early in the season if you execute at a level you think you should. We are going to make errors, but what bothered me about our first loss of the season is I felt like we kind of abandoned what we had been doing in practice since the spring,” Faussett said.
“It is like this every year and that is why we tell the kids ‘you have to come back in shape’ because we know we are going to hit the ground running. We had tryouts, one practice to get ready, two scrimmages, team building time, two games, a practice and the Denton tournament. It is just an insane time of year we try to hang on and make adjustments as we go along.”
With tournaments scheduled the next two weekends, the Lady Indians will begin the most important portion of their schedule, District 15-4A play, Aug. 23, against Ennis.
Rest for the weary will come at a perfect time for Waxahachie as it enters the normal Tuesday/Friday schedule the same week it plays Mesquite Poteet.
Waxahachie is not alone in the whirlwind race to start the season as just about every other team in its district is moving at such a schedule but there is no doubt the Lady Indians will be a fresher, strong team come mid-September.