SMITHTON — The Smithton volleyball team is under new management as Brandon Wallace takes over as the coach of the Lady Tigers.
“Being my first year here coaching the girls, there’s a lot of understanding my vocabulary and also understanding my intentions with the drills,” Wallace said. “I think what they’ve had in the past has been constructive, now I want to be more aggressive in our approach.”
Wallace said his players have been willing to accept the changes he has brought and put them into practice.
“I love the fact of them coming in with someone new and already they have the commitment to play,” he said. “I see a lot of culture change as well. We talk about growth mindset.”
Wallace is not the only newcomer in the Smithton volleyball program. Smithton knows this year will be a learning experience as the Lady Tigers also boast seven freshmen. Wallace hopes to use this season to get them used to the pace of varsity volleyball while keeping them in the right situation so that they are not seeing too much too soon.
“They have no fear, which is what I love,” he said. “They just want to go out and play so I’m highly encouraged.”
For the juniors and seniors, Wallace expects their experience to be beneficial, helping with the atmosphere of a tournament or a crucial conference game.
“I need to make sure I get my juniors and seniors now to where we need them as quick as possible, however, with being freshmen loaded, definitely we have the progression to think about,” Wallace said.
The Lady Tigers won four games last season, scoring a pair of wins over Otterville including in the district tournament and beating Lincoln in the Kaysinger Conference Tournament and in the regular season.
At the net, Wallace is looking for everyone to step up as hitters.
“We’re on a pretty equal playing field, so now we’re just looking at those people that put the application into play,” he said. “That’s what’s going to create the separation.”
Meanwhile the Lady Tigers are fast at the backline.
“I told them our philosophy this year is going to be defense first and speed,” Wallace said. “On the back row, I’m looking to place kids out there who are going to run the ball down, be able to anticipate and be aggressive with the ball and I’ve got some speed demons that are going to do well.”
Eric Ingles can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @Eric_Ingles