2011 SPORTS PREVIEW: Lady Brahmas begin new chapter under a new coach
Stockdale Head Coach Ashley West, along with members of the Lady Brahma volleyball team, look on during a match with Brennan High School.
STOCKDALE -- When Head Volleyball Coach Regan Curran made the decision to move from Stockdale to Floresville High School, there was a short list of candidates for the vacant job. The position was eventually given to Coach Ashley West, a decision that was quite easy to make, considering she was Curran’s assistant over the past two years, as the Lady Brahmas enjoyed the most success they had had in years.
West gave a great deal of praise and credit to Curran for what she accomplished with the program in Stockdale. She said she wouldn’t be making any major changes to what the girls were doing, but will make the team her own.
“Coach Curran did a great job here and really turned things around,” West said. “I want to keep that going, and build on what she did. I don’t have any plans to go anywhere, and want to continue to build the program.”
Stockdale returns just four members from the 2010 squad, after losing eight seniors to graduation.
“We are in a rebuilding phase, but that’s OK,” West said. “I’m still very excited.”
West said she expects a big year from several of the team’s players, including seniors Calee Birdwell, Makaley Perez, and Chelsea Irwin. She said that everyone on the team has been working hard all summer, and that she expects everyone to perform well.
When talking about strengths and weaknesses, West feels the two are closely tied in Stockdale. While the team’s youth and overall inexperience are seen as a weakness, it’s also a strength, in that the team is open to learning and trying new ideas.
West said she believes leadership will be the key to success for Stockdale this year, and she is waiting to see just exactly who will step up and bring the team together.
“It could be any one of them,” she said, “but someone will have to take the lead.”
In terms of district play, West believes Marion will once again be the team to beat. The Lady Brahmas shared the title with the Bulldogs last year, and it could come down to that again in 2011. The Lady Brahmas also have a tough non-district schedule this year, but West likes that, and said, “It’s good to play talent right off the bat. It will help me gauge the team, and see how they react.”
As for goals, the Lady Brahmas are looking for a playoff berth, and then to advance beyond the first round. West believes her team has the talent, and said the girls just need to get into the right mindset.
“There is good team unity and the girls are in good spirits,” West said. “We have a good group of girls. They are good role models and they are good academically.
“We keep telling them to keep that in mind,” West added. “We keep reminding them that they represent our city, our school, and our program in everything they do.”