Port Neches-Groves using special bond to propel early season focus

Published 12:10 am Friday, August 5, 2022

PORT NECHES — First-year head coach Bre’Ala Box is preparing for her first scrimmage as the leader of the Port Neches-Groves volleyball team.

After solidifying her varsity roster earlier this week, Box said she was happy with the way the team looked.

PNG will scrimmage Little Cypress-Mauriceville Friday, which is where the coach said she will begin to play around with the lineups to find out what works best before district play.

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“It is finally here,” Box said. “I am really excited. I also want them to have a lot of fun this Friday as we play around with the lineups.”

Box has leaned on libero Allie Wright and setter Payton Metts as the team’s leaders.

“I feel like the setter and libero are the two most important jobs,” Box said. “The setter is the quarterback. You are the one running the team. As libero, you are running the offense, as well. Those two are really good at doing that.”

Wright, who is a junior, feels like the team has a ton of potential.

“We have a lot of juniors on the team,” she said. “We have all played with each other throughout high school and even in middle school and club. We work well together.”

Wright said the No. 1 goal is to beat rival Nederland.

The junior said Box has managed the players well.

“She isn’t pushing us too hard but she lets us know where we need to get better,” she said.

Metts, who is one of two seniors on the squad, said the team chemistry is at an all-time high.

“We are really comfortable with each other,” Metts said. “We are working a lot better together. We are very tough together. We communicate well and love each other so much.”

Metts is sporting a knee brace from a ACL tear last year. The injury came against LCM, when she dove for a ball. The injury makes Friday’s match against LCM an even bigger milestone, she said.

“It has been hard,” she said. “The recovery process has been so rewarding. I am happy about it. “

Box said some freshmen have also caught her eye and made her anxious to see how they perform against opponents.

PNG landed the fourth seed last season and exited the playoffs after the first round. This year Box said her sights are set on a district title.

“I feel like my main goal is to get the program back in high spirits with good energy,” she said. “I want them to have fun and want to be here no matter the outcome. We want to build a good culture and foundation. And we want to win.”

PNG will also play LCM in a regular season game in two weeks. Box said the match gives her the opportunity to coach against her mentor, Rhonda Williams, who is the head coach for the Bears.