Anna Anderson had a jam-packed summer. Busy possibly is an understatement. But to Temple’s new volleyball coach, it was time well spent.
“There’s something about the Temple community and kids that speaks to me,” Anderson said. “I’m a firm believer that if you really believe in the kids, they are going to want to work for you. I just love Temple volleyball, and we are going to work hard and see where things lead us.”
The work — which started with summer strength and conditioning and various camps during the offseason — for Anderson and the Tem-Cats as well as the rest of the area’s volleyball teams ramped up Monday with the official start of workouts for the 2022 fall season.
Anderson, a spanish teacher who’s been with Temple ISD for the last 14 years, was hired in May as Temple’s third volleyball coach in the last three seasons. The former Tem-Cats softball and volleyball assistant in the early 2010s and most recently Travis Science Academy’s girls athletic coordinator said the start toward stability is by leading by example.
“We have a great coaching staff that works really well together, and I want that to reflect down to the players,” said Anderson, who inherits a program with two playoff appearances since 2013, the last coming in 2018.
“I’m big on character, work ethic, and being a great teammate,” she added. “The best thing that I want from the players is to compete every point, be fierce competitors, and have passion for the sport and for each other.”
Day 1 was part of a busy first week that involves tryouts and culminates with a multiple-team scrimmage in Pflugerville on Saturday.
Temple plays its season opener August 9 at Waco and two days later, the Tem-Cats will participate in the Denton Ryan tournament, an event Anderson said will test her players and get them ready for what figures to be a rigorous run through new-look District 12-6A that includes Bryan, Copperas Cove, Hewitt Midway, Hutto, Harker Heights and Pflugerville Weiss.
The Tem-Cats’ first home match is Aug. 16 versus Pflugerville Connally and district competition starts Sept. 13 against Midway in Wildcat Gym.
“Culture is important. It’s important that we give back to our community and that our girls are visible and realize that everything we do is for Temple High School. So getting involved with community is another focus that we have this year,” said Anderson, who will have assistant coaches Stephanie Cuddy, Ivory Nichols and Marlie Yon by her side. “The kids are eager to work hard and build something.”
Belton ISD buzz
In 2021, Belton High was a Class 6A playoff qualifier and Lake Belton entered the 4A postseason foray. They meet in the middle in 2022 in 5A, setting up an anticipated all-BISD varsity district match — the first of its kind.
The Lady Tigers and Lady Broncos play one another twice in District 22-5A, with Sept. 27 serving as the initial encounter. They also tangle Oct. 21.
The league also features Killeen, brand-new Killeen Chaparral, Killeen Ellison, Killeen Shoemaker, Waco and Waco University.
Did you know?
The area volleyball team that had the longest playoff journey in 2021 was Troy, which advanced to the 3A Region III final. That jaunt came three seasons after the Trojanettes’ 2018 berth appearance the state semifinals. That squad was led by Rachel Melancon, who recently was named the head coach at Temple College.
Around the grounds
Also tightening up the laces and getting the season underway Monday were the area’s cross country and team tennis squads. Football teams across 1A-4A and 5A that did not participate in spring practice also hit the gridiron on opening day.
Class 6A Temple and 5A Belton High, both of which used the allotted spring days in May, kick off fall practice Aug. 8.