Ensuring stability is one of the main goals for Bill Reynolds as he enters his first season as the leader of the volleyball team at Magnolia West, a program that is aiming for its third trip to the playoffs in four seasons despite two head coaching changes during that span.
Reynolds, who was hired by the district in January to replace former coach Emily Buckley, is coming into the new season with nearly two decades of experience. He is coming over to the Lady Mustangs from Bryan Rudder High School, where he has been an assistant coach since 2008.
Magnolia West tied for third place in District 20-5A last season and lost to eventual state runner-up Leander Rouse in the opening round of the playoffs. The team finished with a 16-14 overall record, a solid bounce-back season from the year before when the Lady Mustangs missed the postseason. The best campaign in school history came just three seasons ago when the team went 26-16 and captured a district championship under former coach Lindsey Petzold.
“This program has a great reputation as far as just hard-working and gritty kids,” Reynolds said. “So I’m excited to be able to work with kids who just have that work ethic already engrained. With this particular group of girls, they have pretty high volleyball IQ. They’ve got a lot of club experience, and the kids who don’t have experience are talented and athletic. The great thing about that, watching them in the gym, is that we have so many options in terms of moving people around to different positions, trying to find the best matchups. There are so many kids who are versatile.”
Reynolds said when he first met the girls, there was some nervous anticipation, and he knew that he would have to earn their trust. He has been working hard since then to develop those important relationships that allow a team to be successful and remain cohesive throughout an entire season.
“Essentially, I had to come in and earn their trust and get them to remind themselves why they love this game” he said. “I just wanted to let them know that I do have their best interest at heart. I like a fun practice, a fun team, a hard-working team. So we all want the same things, but the hardest part is getting them to trust another coach and the process we’re going to be putting in place.”
The Lady Mustangs will be led this season by a foursome of seniors who were key contributors last year — setter Kara Wilson, outside hitter Riley Scales, defensive specialist/libero Kiley Kirtley and outside/right-side hitter Peyton Carlyle. Sophomore Alyssa May and seniors Kyndall Eddlemon and Amairani Trejo are also expected to fill important roles for the team.
“We’re pretty well-balanced,” Reynolds said of his roster. “The nice thing is, because of all the versatility, we don’t have offense coming from just one or two people. It can come from anywhere — front row, back row, outside, right-side, middle — you name it.”
In addition to having a new coach this season, the Lady Mustangs will also be facing some new opponents with the UIL realignment. Magnolia West will be competing in District 19-5A against Brenham, Bryan Rudder, College Station, A&M Consolidated, Katy Paetow, Magnolia and Waller. Reynolds said he expects the league slate to be a challenging one, night in and night out.
“I am thoroughly excited to steer this ship and reinvigorate some kids’ passion and love for the sport and see what they can do,” Reynolds said. “When I got hired on, one of the things that I discussed with Coach (J.D.) Berna was that I want to be the coach for the foreseeable future. … The reason it was easy to make that decision (to leave Rudder) when this job came up was just the talent level of the kids, the strong community and the passion they have for th... Click here to read full article