Cautiously optimistic might best describe the feelings of both White Oak’s Carolee Musick and Spring Hill’s Andrew Harbison after two-plus weeks of summer volleyball workouts.
The University Interscholastic League allotted for summer practice sessions to include one-hour each day for sports specific training.
Both Musick and Harbison are going into their second years at their respective schools. After having winter club play cut short along with the elimination of offseason training and summer club ball erased, the opportunity to return to the court after three months of shelter in place came as a welcomed relief.
“For what we’re able to do, I think it’s going well,” said Musick at the conclusion of a recent workout. “We’re trying to develop our footwork and working on leadership and mental toughness as much as we can provided the parameters we’ve been given.”
Harbison, much like Musick, was just happy to be back in the gym after three months away from his girls.
“We’re working a lot on serving and passing and staying in our groups. It’s about a lot of fundamentals at this point,” Harbison said. “It’s good that I get to see them work. Right now we’re just trying to put all the pieces together.”
UIL limitations prevent teams from conducting scrimmages. The girls are generally split into groups of five or six and strictly adhere to the six-feet social distance limitations.
While in these groups, they are able to concentrate on passing, setting and defensive work. Daily workouts, with a few exceptions, are to continue through Aug. 3 and the opening day of fall practice.
“We’re just working areas of our game centered on fundamentals. We’re able to work serve, receive while maintaining safe distances,” said Musick, who has won 763 games and state championship in her distinguished coaching career.
“This gives us a chance to get back in shape and we’re still able to get some stuff done and work on the little things like leadership and mental toughness. It’s good and I’m very, very thankful we have it.”
Harbison, who guided Spring Hill to a 19-19 finish in 2019, acknowledges the uncharted waters and knows everyone is in the same boat.
“I’m excited as things open up and I get to work with my girls. But it’s a crazy time and nobody’s seen anything like this. I’m optimistic, hopeful and anticipate we’re gonna have a season,” said Harbison. “When August comes around we’ll be ready to go. The quality of play will be rough in the early going. I’m confident that by district we can get them going.”
Ironically, Musick’s Ladynecks are scheduled to host Harbison’s Lady Panthers on Aug. 11 in the 2020 season opener for both schools.