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Lots of volleyball players arriving at Nederland for Allie Crommett; “I need to be ready”

Allie Crommett says she hasn’t seen this many incoming freshmen looking to try out for the Nederland volleyball team in the five years since she became head coach.

“There’s a huge group of freshmen coming in,” she said. “I think right now we have 44 freshmen slotted to try out this year, and I have a really large returning class. I have 10 returners from last year’s team and a really good JV group that’s moving up also.”

Aug. 3, the day the University Interscholastic League has determined would be the official beginning of the volleyball season, is looking quite promising for the Bulldogs. Without an offseason because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Crommett says they have nonetheless done well this summer to prepare for the fall while also staying safe and keeping the proper distance.

“I felt like we got a lot accomplished,” she said. “We kind of broke it down, we did stations, and kind of floated throughout that, just so we could hit a lot with smaller groups, where we could still have the social distancing but still get what we needed in the timeframe we were allotted by the UIL. I think it was really successful.”

Because of that, Crommett decided her squad won’t be returning to workouts on July 13. The UIL last week recommended that schools hold off on letting their athletes return to their summer workouts, especially since COVID-19 rates are on the rise in Texas and the July 4 weekend likely would include a large number of social gatherings.

Crommett, though, says she doesn’t want her players to get burned out before volleyball begins in earnest.

“I’m sure people are probably going to be thinking that’s silly,” Crommett said. “We did a lot in four weeks and if we are going back Aug. 3, we’ll bring them back a week prior and just do open gyms, very laid back. If we do start Aug. 3 and then have to go for four months straight, that would have been six months straight if I didn’t give them a break. I know that’s a lot for 15- and 16-year-olds to handle. For me, I wanted them to still be able to enjoy some time that we got to be together but also still kind of have a summer.”

Many of her players are still going to get some playing time by joining summer leagues. Crommett said 18 to 20 of her players have already started participating in leagues.

“Since most of them are playing summer league or trying out for club teams, it’s not like they’re not touching the ball in this month,” she said.

A lot could happen between now and the official start of the volleyball season, but Crommett is continuing to operate and coach her team as if everything will remain on schedule.

“Until I get told otherwise, I have them in the mindset that we’re starting Aug. 3, and I don’t want to stray away from that,” she said. “Yes there are a lot of things that are kind of up in the air, but for me, as long as I keep telling them consistently that we are starting Aug. 3, and until you hear otherwise, that’s the mindset you should have right now. I need to be ready.”