Effort is key for Mustang volleyball in 2014

Five

By Kyle Salomon,

As Caitlyn Bernhardt enters her first season as the head coach of the Mustang volleyball team, there is one word she wants to build her program around – effort.

“Right now we are just focused on one thing, and that is effort,” she said. “It’s important that we give full effort every time we are doing something as a team. Whether it’s in practice, workouts or games, we have to learn how to give full effort all of the time.”

Bernhardt was hired to be the new head coach in June following the resignation of Taryn Steele, who was the head coach for just one year.

Bernhardt served as the assistant coach and head junior varsity coach for last year’s Mustang volleyball program, so she was not brand new to the team. She is not new to Mustang High School either as she graduated from MHS in 2008.

The team has been practicing throughout the summer in the wellness center since Bernhardt was hired. Practices have ramped up in the past few weeks with the start of the regular season just days away.

“I feel like practices have been going pretty well so far,” Bernhardt said. “We are doing some different things than we have done in the past, especially with our conditioning, but I think the girls are handling things really well.”

The Lady Broncos started scrimmages this week. They traveled to Moore on Tuesday to scrimmage against Moore High School and Bishop McGuinness. At 3 p.m. today they will play their Red/White scrimmage in the wellness center at MHS.

The regular season officially gets under way on Aug. 15 when the Mustang girls travel to Bishop McGuinness to compete in the Bishop McGuinness volleyball tournament.

Last season was a successful one as the senior-laden team made it to the regional championships before falling to eventual state champion Edmond Santa Fe.

The 2014 volleyball senior class will be playing for its third head coach in three years. Senior Lesley Barnes said it is difficult but the team likes playing for Bernhardt.

“I think Coach Bernhardt will be a really good coach for us,” Barnes said. “She’s really nice and will help us have a successful season.”

Being early in the year, teams don’t want to be peaking right now. Mustang is no different. Senior Reagan McNeil said the team needs to improve in every area with the scrimmages.

“We need to make sure we develop chemistry on the court when we scrimmage, so we have that going into the regular season. We just have to keep getting better in every part of the game.”

Bernhardt said the team has been working on every facet of the game in practice and hasn’t developed a team identity yet.

“We understand we lost a lot of good players from last year’s team,” she said. “We are working hard to be as good as we can be in every area of the game. We aren’t going to be just great in one particular area, but I believe we can be solid in every area. One of the girls came up to me and said, ‘Coach, we actually can be pretty good.’ The biggest thing for us is to have confidence we can get it done.”

Kyle Salomon is the sports editor at the Mustang News and can be reached at ksalomon@mustangnews.info.