One of the most special moments in Louise High School history was in 2009 when the Lady Hornets volleyball team beat the Bronte Lady Longhorns in four sets to win 1A state championship.
This upcoming season first-year varsity coach Ashley Zezula hopes to re-capture a little bit of that magic. She was a member of that team 11 years ago.
When the Lady Hornets was a powerhouse volleyball program a decade ago they did it with everyone giving all that they had. Now leading the varsity team, Zezula is hoping she can instill the same culture Coach Bryan Branch did so many years ago.
“I learned a lot from my high school coach,” Zezula said. “He taught us a lot of skill work and other stuff, so I’ll apply it here at practice too. I was lucky to learn from someone who was very knowledgable.”
Zezula has been with Louise since graduating from Texas A&M. She started her career at the middle school coaching. Last season she coached junior varsity volleyball and, with an open position, Zezula made it full circle from playing in the gym to now being the head coach. The sophomores who’ll make varsity this season will have been with her since seventh-grade year.
One of the hallmarks that she’ll try to impart to her team in the upcoming season will be hitting the weight room a little harder than they might have in previous years.
“I’m a firm believer in the weight room,” Zezula said. “I think they should be able to lift and squat. I don’t think the girls realize when you do power clings in there, when you come over here you’re so that much more explosive.”
The girls who’ve been coming to strength and conditioning in the offseason have gotten a taste of Zezula’s style.
While Louise might not have the numbers other schools have, they didn’t back when they won the state championship either,
“If you want to be this good, you have to practice how you play,” Zezula said. “I came from a generation when you practice really hard and you were successful. Here they don’t see that and I think that’s what they need to see.”
From 2007 to 2011, the Lady Hornets won multiple rounds in the playoffs yearly. However, in the past few seasons, they’ve struggled and have missed the playoffs the last two years.
Louise will play this season in one of the tougher 2A volleyball districts in the state. In their district, they will play Weimar, Shiner, Flatonia, as well as Ganado and Schulenburg, two former 3A schools. They’ll also play Wealder and Prairie Lea in district, but since they are 1A schools, they don’t count towards deciding who’ll make the playoffs.