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PNG returns to court after outbreak; coach still recovering

The Port Neches-Groves volleyball team took the floor for the first time Tuesday since a COVID-19 outbreak sidelined the team.

Head Coach Brittany Fruge watched her team play on a livestream from home as she continues to recover after being one of 10 members of the team to be infected.

“I am on the mend,” she said. “It is a day-by-day thing. I am definitely moving in the right direction.”

Fruge was proud of how her team preformed in a 3-1 win over Dayton.

“They had to step up after being shutdown an entire week,” she said. “That was their first match of the season and they went out there and proved, in the unique situation, that they are willing to step up and overcome the adversity. They are fighters and know to expect the unexpected. With the virus going around, it is affecting everyone in some way or another.”

Fans in attendance saw a familiar site. Former PNG Head Coach Barbra Comeaux took over as interim in Fruge’s absence and recorded her 1,273rd career win. Comeaux, who is the PNG girls athletic director, has the most wins all time in Texas high school volleyball.

“That was special,” Fruge said of Comeaux. “I am so appreciative of her and the other assistant coaches that have stepped up to take care of my team the last couple of weeks. It was really special to see her do her thing. She is a legend for a reason.”

Fruge said she plans to return to the team Monday.

“I miss them so much,” she said. “I can’t wait to get reconnected with them face to face. It made us realize that we take a lot of things for granted and we are ready to get back to normal. They are doing a great job of continuing to do things the way we have always done them.”

The coach said the early adversity will strengthen the team in the long run.

“The sky is the limit for this group and I can’t wait to see what they do the rest of the season.”