Lady Bobcats warming up for volleyball

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The high school volleyball season officially begins in a month during the first week of August. Coaches and players are allowed to do summer training once a week and attend camps before the start of the season.

The Orangefield Lady Bobcats held a training session the first week of July with Ashlee Broussard Peevey entering her sixth year as coach. Orangefield will play this season with a good group of returning girls.

Last year was a real volleyball battle for Orangefield playing in a tough neighborhood that included strong teams in Bridge City, Little Cypress-Mauriceville and Lumberton. Coach Peevey commented: “It tested our junior and sophomore classes a lot, and it allowed us to grow, but it was a very successful and fun season.” The Lady Bobcats made the playoffs before being knocked out in the first round by a very strong Splendora team.

Peevey particularly liked the team chemistry of last year’s squad. “We loved coming to practice every day, we loved being together every day, and with a group of teenage girls it’s not always that way, so you take those groups when you can, and we were very grateful for the season we had,” expressed Peevey.

Madison Greenway was a leader for Orangefield last year, and will be sorely missed by Coach Peevey along with four other seniors due to graduate. Six Lady Bobcats who played in college last year return for this season.

Libby Thurman is a defensive specialist who is very good on the back line for the Lady Bobcats. Thurman played a lot of time last season and Peevey expects him to progress very well this year.

A six-rotation player should be Mackenzie Haley for the Lady Bobcats. Haley’s goal is simply to be able to attack from anywhere on the court, and his serve is very good. “She’s an outstanding leader on the court for us,” Peevey said.

Multi-talented Harleigh Rawls does a bit of everything for Orangefield on the volleyball court. During the summer league, Rawls made the setting, and that might be his most important role this year for the Lady Bobcats. She previously served as the team’s libero and held other positions. Peevey pointed out, “She’s definitely our utility player, a hustler kid you just want on the floor.”

Kylie Mouton and Greenlea Oldham return as middle blockers. “They come back with more experience from last year, so we just hope it pays off,” Peevey assessed.

An important returning Lady Bobcat is junior Brianna Moore at the setter. Coach Peevey explained: “With the experience she gained last year, I expect her to be sort of our quarterback on the court this year, if possible. She plays also a very good defense for us.”

There are a few holes to fill for Coach Peevey due to graduation last year. “We’ve lost a versatile player, we’ve lost a setter, we’ve lost a hitter, so we have very important roles to fill even though I’m bringing back so many. We have a very strong junior class that continues to contribute to our volleyball program,” advised Peevey.

Some young hitters may be moving to Orangefield University this season who will try to earn places in the starting lineup. Riley Fuller is a rising senior from junior college last year, and she will be competing for a position on the right side.

The competition for backline positions will be very intense. Peevey said: “We are hoping to bring in a few more players at the back but those places are very competitive with the junior class we have. We will have to make some changes and adjustments. We have some very promising players who have been playing very good on our junior varsity for us last year to hopefully fill those holes for us.”

A strength again this year for the Lady Bobcats volleyball team should be their team chemistry. “We facilitate that all summer by bringing these girls here to learn and meet the new players, to learn from each other and new roles. I think we focus a lot on team chemistry because we know that no matter where your skill level is, if you don’t have that team chemistry and that desire to play for each other, you’re not going to have the success that you should have,” said L. Coach Peevey.

Another big focus of summer training is service. The coach wants his girls to be more consistent and threatening with their serves as the Lady Bobcats go through the formation.

The leadership of the six Lady Bobcats returning to college is expected. Peevey said: “They’ve had a taste of success, they know what it takes and they’re very excited. This group at Orangefield is gradually getting more and more excited about volleyball which has been really fun to watch and to live, so I think that means a lot to us. It allows us to have experienced players on the court at any age and players who really want to see our volleyball program succeed. I think that’s going to be part of what will help us this year.”

This season will see a change of district opponents for the Orangefield Lady Bobcats. The University Interscholastic League (UIL) upgraded Orangefield from 4A to 3A classification due to the school district’s enrollment numbers. UIL did the same with Orangefield four seasons ago.

Coach Peevey is thrilled to be back in 3A with her Lady Bobcats. She predicts the new district will be competitive, just like last year for Orangefield when they played in the top tier. “I think our time in 4A helps us. We’re not afraid of these 4A teams, we’re not afraid of the big schools, we just go out and compete on the field,” Peevey pointed out.

Expectations are high for the coach and the Lady Bobcats as they enter the new volleyball season. There are some really good teams in the new 3A district for Orangefield, and it’s going to be a battle night after night according to Peevey.

Hardin is one of the favorites for the new season and is still very competitive. The Lady Hornets are well trained and have a strong volleyball tradition. East Chambers cannot be counted for a district title either.

The rivalry between Orangefield and Buna is always intense, regardless of the sport. Kountze has a new coach and should be improved this season. Peevey added: “I feel like not every team in this district can count them. When they show up, especially to play the Orangefield Lady Bobcats, they’re going to put it on you, they’re going to try with all of them. their strengths, so we just have to be ready.”

Brianna Moore is a setter and should be something of an infield quarterback for the Lady Bobcats this season

The coach outlined his expectations for the upcoming season. “My desire for the Lady Bobcats is always just to go out and give our best, to compete on the field every game, and wherever we end up in October, November, I hope that’s the first or second place in the district which is our goal, that’s what we always strive for for a district championship, we just set the bar high and work towards it,” concluded Peevey.

The season begins for Orangefield with scrums at Nederland and Vidor on August 5 and 6. The Lady Bobcats next host the Lumberton Lady Raiders on Tuesday, August 9 at Bobcat Gym for freshman, junior and varsity games.

District games begin Friday, September 9 for Orangefield against the Kirbyville Lady Wildcats. The college game begins action at Bobcat Gym at 4:30 p.m.

Throughout the district schedule, Friday action will see the varsity game begin at 4:30 p.m. with junior and freshman varsity games to follow. On Tuesdays, the action begins with freshmen playing at 4:30 p.m., followed by junior varsity and ending with the varsity game.

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