Shiner coach enjoys return to alma mater


Sept. 24, 2013 at 4:24 a.m.

GANADO - Desiree Nitsch can't think of a better homecoming present than to lead her alma mater to a District 26-1A volleyball championship.

The 1995 Shiner graduate left Rice Consolidated and took over as head coach at her former school this season and has the team headed in the right direction.

"There were a lot of things we had to change," said senior Julianna Rankin. "We do things completely different this year. She's really taught us the right way of doing things. She's taught us how to play with confidence and how to always believe in ourselves and a lot smarter way of the game."

The No. 8 Lady Comanches maintained sole possession of the district lead with a 25-13, 25-20, 26-24 win over Ganado on Tuesday evening at the Ganado gym.

"It took a while for us to learn each other, and I think we're peaking at the right time," Nitsch said of her team, which improved to 18-11 overall and 5-0 in district. "We went to some big tournaments at the beginning of the season, and we competed against good schools like Schulenburg and La Grange. We worked together, and finally when district came, we put everything together."

The Lady Comanches used their height advantage at the net to produce a number of kills and blocks that made the difference.

"I just think we're focused in, and we can hit very well," said senior Amanise Coleman. "We're taller, and we have an advantage. We just have to keep focused and don't play down to anybody's level and play to ours."

Ganado (10-12, 3-2) did not make it easy on Shiner. The Maidens actually took a lead late in the third game, but Shiner's seniors took over at the end.

"I guess that's just part of having four years of experience and just playing the game for four years and being a leader," Rankin said. "You've got to have the right mindset and be able to lead the younger kids."

Ganado coach Bryan Branch knew his team would have a difficult time against Shiner. But he saw signs of improvement.

"I thought we got a lot better," said Branch, who is in his second season at Ganado. "We're starting to hit a little better, and we're starting to block a little better. I thought our service receipt was better. We're trying to make little improvement at a time and get better every day. What we got tonight was good for us."

Shiner was also pleased to take another step toward its goal of making a playoff run.

"I think we have a lot of offense, and we have some big girls," Nitsch said. "We got to just keep practicing and correct the little things that are hitting us in games."



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