Rally with Allie: Bulldogs defending share of title under Crommett now

Published 1:54 pm Friday, August 4, 2017

NEDERLAND — Familiarity is such a common thing at Nederland.

In football, longtime offensive coordinator Monte Barrow has been promoted to head coach. In volleyball, Allie Crommett moved up from an assistant role to replace Kristin Lemoine.

“They know me and they know my expectations as far as what I expect from them on and off the court,” said Crommett, whose father David is an assistant on Nederland’s football team. “They’re not unfamiliar with me. We work well together, so they know what I expect as a coach.”

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Not only do the Bulldogs have familiarity going for them, they have a District 22-5A co-championship to build off — and a first-round defeat from last season to try and surpass.

“I know from last year to this year, we worked a lot throughout the offseason and the summer to change our mindset and be stronger mentally,” senior outside hitter Kameron Cuniff said.

The Bulldogs went 19-14 and 13-1 in 22-5A last year, beating co-champ Port Neches-Groves once and dropping a five-set playoff to the Indians for the No. 1 seed. Porter swept Nederland in the bi-district round.

Since then, the Bulldogs have developed a tougher mindset for 2017.

Said Caly Holyfield, a senior setter: “Going with PNG, we went four games or five games a lot of times. We just want to be able to go into those games and know that’s probably half the battle, the mindset.”

Much of the mindset is centered on the ability to finish matches strong, Holyfield said, although Nederland has often done well starting strong.

Nederland also dominated a majority of its district opponents with relative ease, even sweeping five straight matches going into the seeding playoff.

Crommett replaced Lemoine, who is now head coach at Conroe Irons Junior High, but the Bulldogs are having to replace a stellar senior class of six that included 22-5A Defensive Player of the Year Darcie Jones and all-district first-teamer Amanda Longlet. Setter Abbey Montalvo also made the first team and is now one of three returning starters.

“I know we lost a few seniors, but I feel like the underclassmen who are coming up, they’re working their tails off and they’re making up for it,” Montalvo said. “I feel like we can go far, as far as we want to.”

The newcomers know how to win as well.

“Our freshman team lost only one game and our JV only lost two,” Crommett said. “We have some younger ones who are going to step up, but they’re young and they’re willing to step up.”

As the season begins Tuesday at home against Orangefield, Montalvo is not concerned about team chemistry because the Bulldogs are starting to understand their own tendencies on the court. And she doesn’t think trying to build off a shared district title after losing a big class is all that daunting, either.

“My sophomore year, we lost a good amount of starting seniors, about the whole starting team,” Montalvo said. “Doing that and coming again last year, we rose up and did even better. So I feel like that won’t be a problem. We all work hard and we all want it.”

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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