Tyler All Saints Volleyball Moving Forward Following Graduation of Standout Katrina Kastmo
TYLER -- Tyler All Saints volleyball coach Bryan Winegeart will admit his team relied a great deal on Katrina Kastmo last season, as is typically the case when coaching a standout player.
But now that the former outside hitter Kastmo (now playing at Mary Hardin-Baylor) has moved on, it's up to Winegeart to figure where All Saints goes from here.
The second-year coach was upbeat when ETSN.fm caught up with him Wednesday afternoon during the Lady Trojans' third day of practice.
"I don't know if there's a way to replace a girl that's as talented as Katrina was," Winegeart said. "But the big thing that we've been emphasizing is that we really leaned a lot on Katrina, and this year is going to be a lot more of a team concept."
Winegeart is putting faith in his three seniors -- outside hitter Lanna Johnson, middle blocker Madeline Wynne and setter Maddie Smith -- to pick up the slack.
"The big thing that I'm looking for them to improve on is definitely leadership, being more vocal on the court, more vocal at practices," Winegeart said. "I'm also looking for them to step outside their comfort zone. Last year with Katrina on the team, they got to sit and be comfortable with what they were normally doing. This year I'm going to be pushing them to … really step up and take on bigger roles."
In addition to his group of seniors, Winegeart is hoping bigger participation numbers throughout the program will allow his team to become more versatile.
"Two years ago, we had eight girls on the varsity team and a lot of the girls played all the way around," he said. "This year, we actually have 20 girls out at the high-school level, which is a big numbers difference than what we're used to. I'm going to be looking for a lot of girls to specialize in certain areas -- specialize in passing, specialize in hitting, specialize in blocking. Depth is going to be important for me because I have to depend on the girls for different things."
All Saints finished 30-9 last season and entered the TAPPS District 2-4A tournament third in the standings, but a poor showing resulted in a fifth-place finish.
"The first few days of practice, the message has definitely been that we have to practice like we play," Winegeart said. "A lot of people say 'practice makes perfect,' but practice doesn't make perfect if you're practicing the wrong thing. And so I've really been stressing the importance of practice, and stressing the mental toughness."
Winegeart believes the experience he picked last season as a first-year coach could end up paying big dividends in 2013.
"This year I'm asking them to be a lot more aggressive with serving, with my play-calling," he said. "I'm being a lot more aggressive because I've realized we can get through district doing certain things, but we can't get past certain teams. To get past those certain teams, we have to get more aggressive, we have to fine-tune some things that as a coach I was not aware of until last year."
All Saints opens the season Tuesday with a dual-match against Longview and Kilgore in Longview. The Lady Trojans begin district play Sept. 17 at Waco Reicher.