Prep Volleyball: New players, new coach bring changes to Garrard
Garrard County coach Dickie Gilbert talks to his players during a timeout in the first set of Garrard's victory over Danville on Thursday. (Mike Marsee / August 21, 2012)
A handful of first-year players and a new coach who is no stranger to the game have at least changed the makeup of the Golden Lions, and they have been welcomed with open arms.
Two weeks into the season is too soon to tell how things will turn out, as veteran players say they’re learning things about the game that they never knew before and new players say they’re learning that it’s both more interesting and more intricate than they expected it to be.
“I like it. It’s a lot different than I thought it would be,” junior Devin Conley said. “There’s a lot that goes into it that you can’t really tell from just watching it.”
Conley is one of four Garrard basketball players — and one of five first-year players in all — who joined the team this year after Dickie Gilbert, an assistant coach with the basketball team, took over as coach.
Gilbert said there were already some good athletes on the roster, but he knew there were others within the basketball team who could help as wel.
“I knew once they acutally played and got to be part of it (they would like it),” Gilbert said. “Athletes are athletes, and athletes are somebody that you gotta have. Once you get the atletes out, then the rest of it will pretty much take care of itself.”
He said the skills needed for both sports are so similar that good basketball players and good volleyball players often have a great deal in common.
“It’s really close, it’s hand-eye coordination, it’s jumping and timing. It’s all about the same,” Gilbert said.
Conley said that’s exactly what Gilbert told them.
“He just encouraged us to do different things, and he said it’s kind of like basketball in a way, with hand-eye coordination, and it just helps us all around,” she said.
She said the basketball players who came out for the volleyball team made their decision as a group.
“We all talked about it, and we decided, really, as a team to go for it,” Conley said.
“Some of those other kids are best friends with volleyball kids anyway, so they should’ve been playing to start with,” Gilbert said. “They should’ve been playing ever since the seventh grade, but we don’t have a middle school program here in this county, and that’s something we’re working toward fixing.”
Better late than never, as far as Sam Price is concerned. Price, a senior and a four-year starter, said the new arrivals have provided front-line help that the Lions didn’t have.
“We don’t have a lot of people that can do spiking, taller people and people that can jump, obviously, like her (Conley), so it helps us with the spiking. We didn’t have a lot of those tall girls before,” Price said.
Garrard’s most experienced returnees play best away from the net, so Price said they blend well with the new players.
“It’s a good combination,” she said.
Price said some of the changes Gilbert has made in the way the team practices and plays are good as well.