All Smiles

Incoming junior Alyssa Mendez gets ready to tip a volleyball that had been tossed by new head coach Kelsey Johns during the Ladybirds’ summer workouts last Monday night. Also pictured is incoming junior Abbie Stehling. The Ladybirds will now have open gyms on Tuesday and Thursday to go with their regularly scheduled offseason workouts.


The El Campo Ladybirds volleyball team will have a somewhat familiar head coach next season.

Kelsey Johns recently was hired by the El Campo ISD and will lead the Ladybirds next season. Johns comes from Needville where she spent the first four years of her career after college coaching volleyball at the middle school. This will be her first varsity job.

“Even though her main work was at the middle school, she worked with the varsity and high school kids during two-a-days and other things like that,” El Campo Athletic Director Wayne Condra said. “I think she’s got a great knowledge of the game and a great passion for the game and I think that’s something she’s going to be able to pass on to our girls. I look for great things from our volleyball program.”

Johns will become the fourth volleyball coach for the Ladybirds in the past four years. The hope is she will add stability to the program going forward.

“That was another positive mark for her,” Condra said. “I think she’s in it for the long haul and that’s going to be key for us.”

Needville is one of the powerhouses in all of Texas, winning six state championships in their history. Johns played for Needville in high school. She didn’t play on the volleyball team at Stephen F. Austin where she went to college, but did continue playing on their club team. After college, she returned to Needville to start her coaching career.

El Campo had a couple of interviews, but Johns’ passions and plan stood out, according to Condra.

The volleyball program has seen around 30 girls take part in Johns’ offseason program which is two days a week on Mondays and Wednesdays.

“Coach Johns is great,” senior setter Georgia Priesmeyer said. “She really cares about us and knows what to do.”

Johns said she knows it’s not the athletes that separate the two schools. However, there is a different mentality, which she wants to bring to El Campo.

“(Needville) plays club just like (El Campo does),” Johns said. “We knew coach (Amy) Schultz’s (Needville head coach) expectations. I told our girls, I have expectations of you. I think that’s really going to benefit El Campo’s volleyball (program) because, hey, we know what coach Johns wants and that’s how it’s going to fly.”

Along with building the varsity and high school program, she plans on being involved with the middle school too, going to games, sending drills and coming to their practices when she can.

Adding to the summer workouts, volleyball will also have an open gym two days a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Like other fall sports, volleyball is in a holding pattern on when/if next season will take place. However, if they have a normal season, Johns will have a leg up after getting hired early on and is able to work with the girls throughout the offseason.

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