By Justin Hartojo
New Concordia Lutheran coach Branden Smeltzer is a self-proclaimed numbers nerd.
He sees the game in percentages and as a chess match.
"If you understand the numbers, you will have success," Smeltzer said. "We are very detailed in the data. Our serve retrieve numbers were down in the middle of the season, so worked on passing all that week. Setting our middle percentages should be higher so we do a ton of reps slow down our offense to get those up.
"If you don't know the numbers, you don't know what to work on. It's like the 'Money Ball' movie."
Smeltzer has also brought a new culture inside the locker room of accountability and learning.
"We teach the game much more," he said. "Look, I'm a player's coach but I have very defined boundaries. For instance, if you are late to practice or the bus, you sit. If you don't pick up the classroom after our pregame meal, it's burbies for everyone. That just the deal."
His stars are shining even more brightly as well. Sophia Keene is doing "Sophie Keene" things. The Baylor-commit had 22 kills in three-set win over The Village School. Sydney Whitfield is becoming a "breakout star" this season before heading to Liberty University.
The surprise has been hitter Caitlin Stein.
"She has been a stud," he said. "Everyone focuses on Sophie and Sydney but now you have to deal with Caitlin. She has been killing it."
The setters, Addy Polk and Anna Schatz, have improved greatly and will be key on the 'Saders playoff run.
In the middle are Haley Manjack and Faith Wilkins, who could be difference-makers as they get fed more with sets.
"They are way under set. They are set 18-percent of the time and I need that about 30-percent," he said. "That middle-setter relationship is really improving."
He's happy with his defense.
"Kylie Bray a beast on defense and Brooke Austin comes in to help," he said.
The numbers don't lie as Concordia Lutheran is 30-7 and wrapping up regular season play. Their only loss came to state-power St. Agnes in a 5-set classic. They could meet again in the postseason.
"I think we are a dark horse for state," he said. "We should get to the show but there is some improvement we still have to make to get there."
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Welcome to another week of H-Town High School Sports with Todd Freed!
The Baytown Lee Ganders are exceeding expectations this season lead by coach Tim Finn who get the nod for Coach of the Week!
Be sure to check out H-Town High School Sports Saturday's at 10:30pm on CW39 Houston, plus, throughout the week on AT&T SportsNet. CLICK HERE for more great video content from H-Town High School Sports.
Here's something to cheer about! The ARS team is offering $50 off any service or repair to show our support for Houston area high school sports. ARS is available 24/7 to help with all your AC, Heating, Plumbing, Drain Cleaning and Electrical needs. Call ARS Rescue Rooter at 777-7777 or visit ARS.com.
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20 Oct, 2021
Shana Willeford (VYPE Media)
Earlier this week, Fort Worth Nolan Catholic came under fire after playing athletes that were not eligible to be playing yet. The team was forced to forfeit three wins as a result of the incident. Since then letters have been sent to the community, athletic director/defensive coordinator Jordan Hampton has been fired, and head football coach David Beaudin has been placed on an indefinite suspension.
As a punishment from TAPPS, the Vikings' three forfeits include two district victories. The team played five players in various games prior to their transfer forms being approved. The forfeits drop Nolan Catholic from a 5-2 overall record (3-1 in district play) to a 2-3 overall record (2-2 in district). The drop causes the Vikings to fall out of contention for their district's first-place spot. The Vikings will be allowed to compete in the playoffs this season, but they have been placed on probation through June 2023. The wins forfeited include a non-district victory over Little Rock Catholic and two district wins against Midland Christian and Bishop Lynch.
A letter sent by athletic director/defensive coordinator Jordan Hampton, interim president Kristy Webb, and principal Leah Rios informed the community of the forfeits earlier this week. The letter reads "Nolan Catholic is committed to playing fairly and within the rules set out by TAPPS. But for the delay in formal approval of their forms, these students were all otherwise eligible to participate... The integrity of the games in which these students competed in prior to formal approval of their forms was not affected by their participation."
Firings and suspensions:
Following the incident above, Nolan Catholic has fired Hampton while also indefinitely suspending Beaudin. Webb announced the firings on Tuesday via a letter sent to Nolan Catholic Parents, students, staff, and alumni. Brian Farda, the Vikings' Assistant Athletic Director of Athletic Operations, has been appointed as the interim athletic director following the firing of Hampton. Vikings' strength and conditioning coordinator and defensive coach K.J. Williams has been appointed as the interim head coach in place of Beaudin.
"We have the highest confidence in Mr. Farda and Mr. Williams moving forward this season," Webb wrote. "It is our commitment to continue providing our students with the highest caliber of leadership, mentorship, and coaching."
What's to come:
Nolan Catholic is scheduled to play at home on Friday against Argyle Liberty Christian. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. The team will finish off regular season play against Liberty Christian, Parish Episcopal, and Prestonwood.
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