GALVESTON — Change takes time, a fact second-year Ball High volleyball coach Jaclyn Burroughs understands.
A program that has had very limited success now is in the dawn of a new era, one which has seen the Tors jump out with a 2-0 start entering today’s home match against Pasadena Sam Rayburn. Burroughs has instilled an aura of confidence in her players, which includes five sophomores on the roster.
“This is a group of girls that are invested in the success of this program,” Burroughs said. “One of the things I’ve stressed is that they get their hands on a volleyball any time they can. A lot of the players have played club ball, and it’s showing in how they approach the game.”
Ball has opened with 3-0 wins over Pasadena and Sam Houston. While youth defines the roster, it has been the play of senior middle blocker Sheridan Hopkins, who leads the team in kills and provides needed experience as the program continues to grow on a match-by-match basis.
Hopkins, who was an All-District selection last season, has been able to hone her skills further behind the guidance of Burroughs, who feels Hopkins can repeat her performance now in District 23-5A.
Burroughs also feels that a pair of sophomores, outside hitter Skyler Simon and middle blocker Taylor Termini, have the potential to be the foundation of the future she envisions for the Lady Tors program.
“Skyler and Taylor are young, but you can see their talent,” Burroughs said. “Both can put the ball away offensively. I really feel they are capable of stepping up their skills sooner than expected.”
With youth, maturity becomes a question, one that Burroughs is aware of. While the team has shown a deep level of seriousness in practice, the time will come where Ball’s inexperience will be tested, especially once district play begins.
Burroughs also knows her team must improve on its defense. Although the Tors swept their first two matches, a higher level of opposition will require a better commitment to shutting down opposing offenses.
“We need to make sure the girls are ready for that,” Burroughs said. “There is a need to fine-tune that aspect of the game.”
While Ridge Point and Santa Fe are considered the two teams to beat in 23-5A, Burroughs believes her team is capable of making the postseason this year. Much of her confidence in that theory is because a more-focused commitment to the sport has carried over not just to her players, but to the parents and the community, which has made an all-in effort toward making the sport stronger on the island.
“I think we are going to surprise a lot of people,” she said. “Based on past experience, we are not going to be regarded as a team that can play with the better teams in the district, but I feel this is best team we’ve put out there in a long time.”
Ball High Lady Tors
COACH: Jaclyn Burroughs
KEY RETURNERS: Sheridan Hopkins (sr.), Skyler Simon (soph.), Taylor Termini (soph.)