PACKAGE DELIVERED: MacArthur Volleyball Reflects on First District Crown in 39 Years
PLAYING VOLLEYBALL IN THE 1980S FOR ALDINE HIGH SCHOOL, LYNDA EASTLAND KNEW OF MACARTHUR AND THE POWERHOUSE THAT THEY WERE.
Nearly four decades later, Eastland – who has been the head coach of those Big Mac Lady Generals for the past 14 seasons – had a goal to get the team back to that power-program status.
In 2020, they took step one – winning a District Championship.
"This is a big deal on the mail route," Eastland said with a chuckle. "It brings a lot to the community and for this volleyball program. I knew the expectations coming in. One of mine was to bring back a District Championship."
Winning the district crown in 2020 over rival- Spring was big for MacArthur. It was the first time since the 1981 season – so 39 years ago – that they got to take the gold ball back to Big Mac.
"I knew with the mentality of the girls that I had that they had a yearning to do it," Eastland said. "You could just see something different in each athlete."
The turning point for the season came in a team bonding session, Eastland said and from that moment they got rolling.
"They learned how to have each other's back," she said. "They treated each other as a family. They didn't look at barriers we could see. We learned
to see why a person is the way they are and not judge how they are. They were able to break down those barriers."
Now, what's the encore?
"We have a beginning, now we need a continuation," Eastland said. "If it's the District Championship, it'll come out. These girls are able, I have no doubt. But they don't put that pressure on themselves. They just believe in coming in, working hard and getting it done."
When MacArthur won the district crown back in '81, it was a part of a back-to-back title run for the program, which the current Lady Generals have their sights set on.
"Our goal for this year is to get another gold ball," Jasmine Rutledge said. "So, we've got to work at it and keep grinding. No rest, no sleep because we know what we want."
Emeli Muagututi'a added: "I think leadership is a big thing to keep that going, so you can keep the same culture going. The people that are new will just fill into that same kind of culture."
This squad does bring back the pieces to make such a run in 2021 with, of course, Spring circling their matches against MacArthur to try and take it back.
But Eastland has "the winning formula" to deliver another gold ball package on the mail route.
"It's going to be people. It's going to be culture. It is our preparation and execution," she said. "That's our game plan."