Garesche leading Bulldogs through initial year of TAPPS
The British International School of Houston's volleyball program is in its first year competing in the hotly contested TAPPS 5A-District 7.
The Bulldogs have taken their growing pains, as expected when going up against perennial powers like Fort Bend Christian, Lutheran South, and The Woodlands Christian Academy on a consistent basis, but first-year head coach Mary Garesche has her players focused on the process and experience, not the result.
"I'm not going to define (this season) by wins or losses," Garesche said. "I'm going to define it on everyone having a positive experience. They'll be exposed to a lot of new things, new teams, and they'll have some really tough games. But if they can walk away from a game or this season with a positive experience, then that's a win for me."
Garesche was hired in December as assistant athletic director and aquatics and volleyball coordinator after a successful stint leading her volleyball team to the Athletic Association of Independent Schools of New York playoffs each of the last six years.
Her first mission at BIS-Houston: Guide the program as it enters its initial year of TAPPS.
"It's been really fun," Garesche said. "The team experienced their first every volleyball preseason, coming in two weeks before the start of school. They trained four hours a day for two weeks to get ready to compete in this league. It's exciting to be a part of something new."
With only two seniors, it's been a trying time for the Bulldogs, but they are getting out of it what they expected.
"It's the level of play," Garesche said. "They're exposed to a higher level of play, and that only pushes them harder. They'll improve faster than they would've in another league."
Garesche's varsity consists of a handful of freshmen, and Garesche said this year is vital to their development.
"They're going to be part of the building of a new program, and they'll be able to see over the next four years how big the program is going to get," Garesche said. "That'll be partly due to them and their commitment to the team."
Garesche's philosophy centers around support, communication, and growth. Positivity is key.
She has been encouraged by what she's seen on the court, with players coaching each other and helping each other learn the ins and outs of playing an advanced level of volleyball.
"I really focus on the emphasis of being a part of a team," Garesche said. "We play together, we win together, we lose together, we work hard together. Every experience is a learning opportunity, whether we win in three sets or lose in three sets. Every opportunity is a chance to grow and learn."