A LOOK BACK: Rosehill's Jacks had fresh outlook for Eagle volleyball
THE ROSEHILL CHRISTIAN EAGLEVOLLEYBALL PROGRAM HAD TWO GOALS GOING INTO THE SEASON– GO UNDEFEATED AT HOME AND WIN STATE.
The Eagles dominated TAPPS District 5-3A, going undefeated at home. So, who else did they play in the Eagles’ Nest? The Class 5A State Champs Fort Bend Christian Academy – win. Traditional power Second Baptist School – win.
“We wanted to load up our preseason schedule with tough teams so we would be ready for the playoffs,” Mallory Jacks said. “We came into the season returning a bunch of juniors and seniors and they knew my expectations for them after last year.”
Jacks took over the program early last season when coach Jessica Gehrke was diagnosed with leukemia. Jacks led the team to the second TAPPS State Final Four in school history before losing to her alma mater Round Rock Christian Academy.“
These girls have a good time… and winning is having a good time,” she laughed. “But we won’t just be happy to be at the State Final Four this year. We know we belong there and want to win it .”
Savannah Jennings Bradley Collier (Vype)
The straws who stirred the drink for Rosehill Christian were senior captains Savannah Jennings and Brylee Kobza.
"Those are my girls,” she said. “ They were my coaches on the court. Savannah was our setter and Brylee has been a four-year starter at libero. We had the best hitter in the district in Kaleigh Frazier and Keely McNeill was one of the smartest setters I’ve ever had.”
In the middle was superathlete Mercy Freeman. She is a five-time State gold track athlete and basketball starter.
Jacks, who played at the University of Louisville and Angelo State, connect with her team. As a young coach, she knows what she wants to teach her young women and how to treat them on and off the court.
“Look, we have practices that are short, focused, and fun,” she said. “Girls are dealing with a lot of stuff and volleyball can be their safe haven. We also needed to save their bodies as we went through the season. I hold them to a very high standard of character and ask for maximum effort. That’s it. The rest should be building great relationships inside our locker room and having fun.”
Having played for a small, private high school , Jacks also understands the challenges of multi-activity athletes.
“I love that our students are so well-rounded,” she said. “Yes, we may run into scheduling conflicts but that’s okay. I had a student at a State One-Act Play Competition during the day who rushed over to play a Regional playoff game at night. It’s good. Our kids like winning and are willing to work hard in school and in competition – whatever that might be. It’s built into the culture here.”