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Fulshear senior Brielle Warren.
IN 2019, FULSHEAR'S VOLLEYBALL TEAM WON 45 OF 49 GAMES EN ROUTE TO THE CLASS 4A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP.
Last year, Fulshear was almost on top of the world again but fell in the Class 5A State Final in a sweep to Lucas Lovejoy.
Lesson No. 1 from last season's result had little to do with anything on the court.
It was all between the ears.
"Mental is probably 60-percent of the game for any athlete, and I feel like going into that (Lovejoy) game there was a lot of preparation that did and didn't happen," senior Brielle Warren said. "There were a lot of things that went unsaid and a lot of wrong things that were said. I think the mental side got to us, where our minds were somewhere else."
Coach Sydney Zimmerman agreed.
"I think we probably got a little bit ahead of ourselves," Zimmerman said. "I think we felt like we rolled through everybody in the playoffs fairly easily, and it put us in a spot where we hadn't had to mentally prepare as much as we needed to for that final game.
"It was something that hurt us, something we learned from and something we definitely won't let happen again."
While Zimmerman admits her club is big on routine, she said she will change things here and there during the season, so her team is more prepared.
The balance is, while changes are to be made in some aspect, Fulshear shouldn't stray too far from a proven recipe for success. There is a culture and standard intact. The bottom line is the Chargers were still state runner-ups in their first year competing in Class 5A.
"A lot of programs see things and chase things, and even we'll have moments of that," Warren said. "But I think we try really hard to not chase a standard and hold ourselves to it, and we're envisioning it and and working towards it."
FRESH FACES: The Chargers will introduce a trio of talented freshmen this year. They are outside hitter/right side Bailey Warren (sister of Brielle), Avery Pruitt and defensive specialist Sydney Black.
BEING THEMSELVES: "What makes us different is a lot of us get to be ourselves. There's a lot of programs I've known where everyone is trying to fit the same standard and there's a lot of tenseness because everyone is trying to be this or be that. For us, we're just ourselves, and we're getting our own rewards out of that." - Senior Brielle Warren
DISTRICT TITANS: Fulshear has won 29 consecutive district games and only lost one district contest in the last three seasons.
After winning the Class 4A title in their third year of varsity play in 2019, the newly-minted Class 5A Chargers fell short of going back-to-back when they were swept by Lucas Lovejoy in the State Final in 2020.
Though Fulshear graduated seven seniors from that club, coach Sydney Gotcher returns four starters from last year's 25-5 team.
Senior outside hitter Alexis Dacosta is the anchor of what will be a dynamic, versatile attack. The Baylor-commit totaled 286 kills and 237 digs to go with 32 aces last season.
Six-foot-one seniors Brielle Warren, an outside hitter, and Skylar Voskuhl, a middle blocker, are ready for more prominent roles at the front of the net. Warren, who had 202 kills last season, is a Purdue-commit.
The defense will be forceful behind senior Texas A&M-commit Ava Underwood, the team's fiery leader, who compiled 309 digs and 243 assists, showing versatility at libero and setter.
Another player to watch is incoming freshman Bailey Warren, Brielle's younger sister, who could play a factor in 2021.