Lady Bobcats get used to being good

Posted Monday, Aug. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Different years. Different expectations. Different pressures.

When Byron Nelson’s Haley Tippett joined the volleyball program two years ago, she was a freshman at a new school where no one really knew how good the Lady Bobcats could be.

So all that team did was make the playoffs and play in the Region I tournament. Fast forward to 2012, with a team stacked with talent and experience. Talk of playing in the Class 4A state tournament became part of the preseason conversations.

However, that didn’t happen, as the Lady Bobcats advanced only as far as the Region I quarterfinals.

“There was pressure as the underdog, because people thought we couldn’t play well and win big games, but we did,” Tippett said. “We wanted to show them we could play. But when we lost some big games last year, we then heard, ‘Why did you lose that game?’ It was all new.”

With some turnover in the roster but the core returning, led by the 5-11 junior outside hitter, the Lady Bobcats are now settling into the mentality of being one of the better programs in the area. The issue for them is how they handle it. Nelson is looking to repeat as the District 5-4A champion as fall workouts began Monday. The regular season begins Aug. 13.

“When we lost to Denton Guyer (spoiling a perfect district record) last year, I think that woke us up a little bit,” Tippett said. “I think some of us got big-headed. Now, we have understand how to deal with this.”

Tippett took steps toward preparing for this season as a member of her club team, Royal Tigers. The team played in the national tournament in early July over at the Dallas County Convention Center and finished 14th.

Club volleyball can be vastly different from the high school game because the position an athlete plays in club could be different than in high school. However, Tippett stayed anchored at outside hitter. That benefited her and it should also benefit Nelson.

“Just staying in the position pretty much helped me to get better with everything,” she said. “I can see where I’m better at court awareness on what kind of offensive moves to make and just continue to play good defense.”

Tippett is an eight-year verteran of the game and extended her summer into the beach volleyball game. Recently, she and her partner also played in a national tournament. That’s dedication through playing and gaining more strength and adding height to her vertical.

But that’s also allowed her to play beyond high school at the Division I collegiate level. Despite two more years to play, Tippett has already verbally committed to Tulsa.

Nelson coach Libby Pacheco is asking more from Tippett this fall. She wants the leadership to go beyond the court.

“As a third-year starter, Haley will be expected to be a strong leader for our team both on and off the court,” Pacheco said. “As the district MVP, she’s going to face teams that will prepare specifically for her. She will have to be a smarter player. With all of the hard work she has put into the off season, she has positioned herself to be one of the most dominant players in the area.”

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