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VOLLEYBALL: Bulldogs take in college training before practice opens

NEDERLAND 2019 VOLLEYBALL SCHEDULE

(All varsity matches, except for tournaments, begin at 6:30 unless otherwise noted; home matches in BOLD)

August: 8-10 at Pearland tournament; 13 vs. Hardin-Jefferson; 15-17 at Dickinson tournament; 16 at Crosby; 20 vs. Little Cypress-Mauriceville; 23 at Bridge City; 27 at Sweeney; 29-31 at Santa Fe Tournament; 30 at Hamshire-Fannett, 4:30 p.m.

September: 3 at Kelly Catholic; 6 vs. Woodville, 4:30 p.m.; 10 at Goose Creek Memorial; 13 vs. Port Arthur Memorial; 17 at Barbers Hill; 20 at Vidor; 24 vs. Port Neches-Groves; 27 vs. Cleveland

October: 1 at Dayton; 8 at PA Memorial; 11 vs. Barbers Hill; 15 vs. Vidor; 18 at PNG; 22 at Cleveland; 25 vs. Dayton

NEDERLAND — For three days, Nederland’s volleyball players trained like Southeastern Louisiana Lions.

Vidor native and SLU head coach Jeremy White conducted a three-day camp with the Bulldogs that wrapped up Wednesday, one day before UIL programs can begin conducting regular practices. This was the fourth year that White, who was the top assistant during Lamar State College Port Arthur’s lone volleyball season (2014) and more recently Northwestern Oklahoma State’s coach, held a camp with the Bulldogs.

“He’s really familiar with our girls and our program,” third-year Bulldogs coach Allie Crommett said. “He sits and talks with us about what kind of things we feel like we really want to work on. He puts it into motion with our kids. They’re really comfortable with him, and we use a lot of the drills that he does during camps. It helps us during the season.”

NCAA coaches generally do not comment on players not signed with a program to avoid violation of national policy.

Crommett’s Bulldogs (21-20 last season, 5A bi-district round) also took advantage of a new UIL rule allowing athletic programs to conduct sport-specific skill instruction during the summer for no more than two hours per week (no more than one in a day) and strength and conditioning for up to two consecutive hours each day, Monday-Thursday. Crommett said those workouts were held in June.

Any moment senior middle blocker Hannah Hickey gets to spend with her teammates is precious to her.

“I’m super-excited,” Hickey said. “I’m going to be kind of sad when it ends, though, because we’re all going our separate ways, but we have a super-close bond, so that makes me have a good feeling about the season.”

Nederland returns nine from last year’s team, which finished third in District 21-5A but handed Barbers Hill its lone defeat in league play, and senior right side/opposite hitter Karley McGill is happy about the experience the team possesses.

“It’s really good knowing that because we did lose a lot of good people,” McGill said. “[The underclassmen] have watched us, and they’re ready to take their spots and fight to get playing time.”

McGill returns as a two-year all-district. Classmate Jenna Brekel is stepping into the role of defensive specialist.

“We can go as far as we put our minds to and how far we’re trying to stay focused,” Brekel said.

The Bulldogs will scrimmage at Huffman on Saturday and host a scrimmage Monday before starting the season with the Aug. 8-10 Pearland tournament. Hardin-Jefferson will be Nederland’s first home opponent Aug. 13.

“I feel like we’re a fundamentally sound team,” Crommett said. “We may not be the biggest or have a really big, heavy hitter like PNG’s Kaitlyn Gil (two-time district MVP now at Lamar University), but we’re really good at the fundamentals, the serve-receive, we have good baseline passing. So for us, those are going to be the biggest keys, I feel like.”

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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