PREP VOLLEYBALL NOTES: Lady Panthers change routine to include Zumba (9/9)

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By Ryan O'Gara

The monotony and lack of variety in practice is an element which can drag any team down, especially as the season wears on.

That’s why Elizabethtown coach Bart Catlett decided to switch up the routine on his Lady Panthers (10-5) by having them do Zumba for an hour before practice.

Zumba is a dance fitness program that combines Latin and international music. In addition to plenty of dance moves, there are also squats and lunges involved. On weeks with two matches, the team does Zumba on Monday and Wednesday, while in weeks with three or more matches, the team will just do it Wednesday.

“When the girls are practicing, they’re tired. They’re going on fumes,” Catlett said. “I do that on purpose so when it comes to game night and it’s the (fifth) set, they’re not tired – they’re ready to go.”

While Catlett insisted this wasn’t his type of workout – he usually hooks up the music to the PA system and heads back into his office until practice starts – he recognizes how important cross training is mentally and physically to being a successful athlete. He added he also would like to incorporate more sand volleyball into the team’s practice schedule, like he did this summer, but there aren’t typically enough courts available.

“You can be the hardest coach you want to be and sit there and drill your kids to death, but at some point in time, they have to smile and they have to have fun,” Catlett said. “If you can get that to happen, you’ll get more out of them than you would normally.”

MEADE COUNTY STEADILY IMPROVING. The Lady Waves started the season slowly, dropping three of their first five matches. But a stretch of seven wins in eight matches, including wins over 11th District rivals Breckinridge County and Hancock County, got them on the right track. Meade County (11-6, 3-0) needs a win over the Lady Tigers on Tuesday to clinch the No. 1 seed for the district tournament.

“Little by little, we’re taking steps forward,” said Meade County coach Shajuana Ditto. “I enjoy working with the girls. My seniors have done a great job for us.”

Ditto singled out senior outside Kristen Bowen, junior right side Cassidy Adams and sophomore outside hitter Janna Thacker for the way they have taken charge of the team and set a good example.

“Everyone has stepped up and improved a lot, but those (three) have definitely been leaders on the court,” Ditto said.

ROSE ROBIDOUX. North Hardin is vying for its first season over .500 since 2007, and the Lady Trojans (7-7) will have a good chance at getting there if they keep getting performances like the one they got out of senior libero Rose Robidoux against Central Hardin on Thursday.

Robidoux had 15 digs – most of which were spectacular, diving saves against the powerful Lady Bruins’ front row – in helping North Hardin deal Central Hardin its only set loss in 23 sets this season.

“That kid has a lot of heart and hustle,” said North Hardin coach Jessica Gunby after the match. “She is getting balls sometimes that I have no clue how she gets to. She’s impressed me. She’s worked hard every single day we’ve had practice, and I couldn’t be more proud of her.”

It wasn’t just Robidoux’s coach who was impressed.

“I told her after the game that was one of the best performances I’ve seen by a libero,” said Central Hardin coach Bill Rineker after the match. “I couldn’t even explain it – it was like she was doing magic tricks back there, some of the stuff she was getting to.”

MATCH TO WATCH: LARUE COUNTY AT CENTRAL HARDIN. Both are considered serious contenders in the 5th Region and will square off at 7:30 tonight in Cecilia. LaRue County (5-2) was picked as the fourth-best team in the region in the preseason and Central Hardin (9-0) was voted second. The Lady Hawks have played just once in the past eight days, a four-set victory over Taylor County on Thursday. The 24th-ranked Lady Bruins are flying high after an impressive win Saturday against No. 20 Union Cooper at the John O’s Valero Queens of the Court Tournament and a group featuring just one senior is starting to gel.

Ryan O’Gara can be reached at 270-505-1754 or rogara@thenewsenterprise.com.