Keller Citizen

Fossil Ridge volleyball seems a good fit for new coach

Sometimes, it’s not really known if a fit is a fit until time passes.

Hollie Huston hoped her tenure at Colleyville Heritage would be a long one filled with district championships and playoff appearances. It just didn’t turn out that way.

Although the Lady Panthers went 21-24 and advanced to the area round of the 2015 Class 6A playoffs, Huston had to recreate a roster that was gutted by graduation of the 2014 team that featured four Division I signees.

Citing philosophical differences, Huston made the 2015 season her only season running the program. In early January, she told her team that she was moving on. Her goal was to coach again. In April, she accepted a similar position at Keller Fossil Ridge.

Huston used the last eight weeks of this recently concluded school year to implement her philosophy and how this program would conduct itself on a daily basis. There seemed to be an instant connection. Fossil Ridge is hoping that becomes the case. It has not experienced the postseason in recent years.

“When the job came open, I talked with (Keller assistant athletic director) Becky Spurlock and we seemed to have the right frame of mind,” Huston said. “I thought this could be a good fit. But the job didn’t open in March.

“I had looked at jobs in Austin, Frisco, Burleson and Belton. I had some offers. They came with being a coordinator. But I just didn’t want to uproot the family. It didn’t feel right about leaving this area.”

Huston’s interviews at Fossil Ridge went so well that before she got into her car from the second, the school called and offered the position. Before she accepted, Huston needed some time. She then accepted the position that opened when Jennifer Chandler went to Justin Northwest.

To bring Fossil Ridge into playoff contention, Huston wanted to make sure everybody was solidified on the inside before it plays a match of any kind on the court. Members of the Lady Panthers varsity and junior varsity teams are playing in a summer league. A condensed weight training program seemed to net some early benefits. She also had the team go through its first community service project. It was a book study with younger kids.

“My job is to win, but to lead in a manner that will I will be role model for them,” Huston said. “I think it was something that I really wanted to impressed upon everyone. That shows a lot. I think Jennifer did a great job of making her teams well-rounded.”

Fossil Ridge is coming off a season where it lost several seniors, including at libero and outside hitter. Several of the key players returning this fall will be senior middle blocker McKayla Emmert, senior right side/middle blocker Hanna Grant and junior setter Cassidy Zellmer.

“Cassidy is strong on defense and does a great job of leading by example,” Huston said. “McKayla has great offensive skills. Hanna can play back row if I need her to and has a strong serve. I’m looking forward to getting started in August.”

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