When New Braunfels Christian Academy takes the court tonight to begin the second half of its TAPPS District 4-3A schedule, it will do so not having lost a single set — let alone a match — in a full calendar month.
The Lady Cats have rolled to a 26-5 overall record thus far and swept each of their last 13 opponents, including district foes San Antonio Keystone, Kerrville Our Lady of the Hills, Hallettsville Sacred Heart and San Antonio Castle Hills.
If there was any doubt that NBCA might have a tough time adjusting to first-year head coach Megan Dugie — the team’s third new coach in as many years — it was put to rest early when the Lady Cats opened the 2018 campaign at 7-1 during a stretch against larger public-school opponents.
“(Coach) Dugie has helped so much with making sure that we treat each other as family, not only on the court, but also off the court,” junior setter Adria Galles said.
Dugie is a 2016 Texas Lutheran graduate who started all four years on the court for former head coach Tiffany Davis as a libero and defensive specialist. Prior to that, she played both volleyball and softball for East Central High School in San Antonio.
“Volleyball stole my heart,” Dugie said. “I had such a passion for it and I loved it.”
Dugie earned her master’s degree in exercise and sports science from Texas State University and was then hired as the athletics and fitness specialist at Das Rec. Then, an additional opportunity emerged when former NBCA head coach Phyllis Fowler agreed to take over the program at Texas Lutheran.
Dugie, who has been coaching since her high school days, knew right away it would be a fantastic fit.
“I knew automatically that it was something I wanted to do,” Dugie said. “Fortunately, (Das Rec) allowed me to do both jobs and is super supportive.”
Dugie and Fowler exchanged scouting reports on their former teams, and Dugie learned how much young talent awaited with the Lady Cats. Among the returnees were sophomores Camdyn Doucet, Ellie Wineinger and Jessica Hammock.
A strong group of juniors (Galles and Kacey Bronnenberg) and a pair of senior siblings (Addie Doucet and Kendall Wineinger) filled in the necessary positions to make the Lady Cats instant contenders. NBCA also received a huge boost when sophomore Hailey Hamlett transferred to the school from Smithson Valley, giving Dugie another terminator-style hitter on the outside.
But much of the Lady Cats’ success is due to their versatility as a team. Doucet and Hamlett are two of the top beach volleyball prospects in the San Antonio area and have shaped their indoor play through plenty of work in the sand.
“I noticed it helped me with my athleticism and vertical jump and speed,” Camdyn Doucet said.
“It really helps with agility and getting to the ball,” Hamlett said. “You have to pass, set and hit, so you get a feel for everything. It definitely helps you be flexible on the court.”
Hamlett recently committed to play beach volleyball at TCU, while Camdyn Doucet is beginning the application process to become a part of Stanford’s program. Both are a part of the 210 Beach organization in San Antonio, while Doucet also teamed with Ellie Wineinger last year in the TAPPS state beach tournament.
With all of that ability and camaraderie under one roof, NBCA has high hopes for the upcoming postseason.
“If we keep up how we’re playing right now, then we can definitely make it a lot further than we’ve ever made it,” Galles said.