Taylor McFarland

Taylor McFarland and the Godley Lady Cats are set for their first practice of the 2020 season Monday.

Just as football practices for Class 4A-1A schools begin Monday, volleyball programs are also set to hit the court Monday for their first gatherings of the 2020 campaign.

Class 6A-5A volleyball programs, like football, have to wait until Sept. 7 to begin practices and workouts, but Alvarado, Godley, Grandview, Keene, Rio Vista and Venus can get started Monday, with the UIL permitting first matches of the season can be held beginning Aug. 10.

Grandview Coach Jesilyn Hatch said the summer strength and conditioning along with skill instruction the UIL granted during the summer was a big help in being ready to start practices. Grandview also wasn’t forced to halt its workouts due to COVID-19, unlike some other schools.

“We’ve been very fortunate in Grandview to take advantage of the skills and summer conditioning time the UIL gives us this summer,” Hatch said. “We only had a stoppage during Fourth of July, so we’ve been able to see the kids a bit. It’s nice to be back to some normalcy, even though nothing about this season and the protocols in place are like we’re used to.”

Hatch said the Lady Zebras have already been practicing the proper social distancing and wearing face coverings whenever possible during workouts, but those measures will be even more important moving forward to be able to make it through the season.

“Our girls have done an awesome job this summer of being at the workouts as much as possible,” Hatch said. “So we took advantage of that time to get them used to wearing a mask when not working out, to sanitize their hands before and after everything, and wiping down equipment. We are going to step it up a bit starting Monday, but we’ve been able to talk to them the last week or so and give them a heads up about how important it is that we follow these guidelines closely so we can have a full season. We discussed that we’ve all put in a lot of time over the summer and our senior class deserves a full final season.”

After a couple of down seasons by Grandview’s standards — having to play in a tiebreaker match for a playoff spot in 2017-18 and missing the playoffs last season — Hatch is hopeful the Lady Zebras get back to their usually high level of play.

“I’m very excited for this upcoming season,” she said. “Everything I’ve seen from the girls this summer points to a great upcoming year. They’re focused, intense, yet still have an easy fun relationship with each other. I look for that to continue.”

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