Titans now on ‘level’ field

Published 6:33 pm Friday, August 5, 2016

Port Arthur Memorial coach Bianca Dixon is not concerned with the youth of her volleyball team.

She’s quite happy, actually, with it.

“Having a young team is an advantage because young people want to get better,” the third-year head coach for the Titans said. “So, they come in here enthusiastic, they come in here willing to work, they come in here open to new ideas. They’re just excited about getting better, and that’s the biggest advantage. They want to learn, and they grasp everything you’re trying to teach them, so then they can’t help but get better.”

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That’s what Dixon has seen from a team that has only three seniors and one junior after losing eight seniors from 2015.

After a challenging stay in District 21-6A, the Titans will get to try their hand against many of their neighbors in 22-5A including Nederland and Port Neches-Groves.

Not to mention rivals from Beaumont, Ozen and Central.

“It’s better than traveling to Houston,” senior setter Riyah Moore said. “Now we’re playing local and don’t have to worry about traveling that far. It’s just right there.”

Dixon did see improvement from the Titans in Class 6A, as they improved their win total in each of her first two seasons. Memorial was 8-16 overall last season, but did not make the 6A playoffs.

“I think we’ll be able to compete a whole lot better,” Dixon said. “The playing fields are a little more level here.”

By “level,” Dixon means every team has to find away to do better and compete. “We’re stepping on the court just like they are,” she said.

And Memorial will begin its season Tuesday against

Dixon is expecting seniors Moore, Jamiyah Dixon and Byron’Nesha Bernard to have standout seasons. Junior Nayla Bazile is “an extraordinary hitter,” Dixon said, while sophomore Diamond Newsome has surprised Bianca Dixon with her play during tryouts and looks to be a factor.

“We have to continue to work hard and just work hard every practice and keep going,” said Jamiyah Dixon, the coach’s daughter. “I’m excited about being a senior and how hard my team works, the effort they put in.”

Coach Dixon asked the coaches from Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson middle schools to help with tryouts and preseason drills. One of them, Lincoln’s Holly Marshall, has just made the short move up Ninth Avenue from Bob Hope, where she helped the Eagles make the 2A playoffs last year.

“I was impressed at their willingness to do everything she said and how she got to pull out all the potential out of those kids,” Bianca Dixon said. “I wanted her.”

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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