WHEN KLEIN HIGH REACHED THE STATE FINALS A YEAR AGO, THE BAR WAS RAISED. NOW, EXPECTATIONS ARE TO RETURN EVERY YEAR, BUT THINGS CHANGE.
It makes it tough for a high school coach but that is the nature of the business.
As players cycle out, new players take huge leaps. For Klein High, that is Rachel Heilbrun.
As the 'Kats are settling in, Heilbrun started as a defensive star but now has become one of the team's top offensive weapons. She never comes off the court and her versatility has a lot to do with playing beach volleyball at a high level.
VYPE caught up with Heilbrun to chat up the junior and talk about her expanded role.
VYPE: You are being recruited as a beach volleyball prospect. How does beach help you with your indoor game?
HEILBRUN: I started playing in quarantine just for fun, but I loved it so much, and decided to go full beach and it has worked out well. My vertical has increased by several inches for indoor and my shots are also something not seen often in indoor because of my beach training. I have gotten several offers and am taking official visits to SFA, HBU and Louisiana-Monroe. I'll be committing pretty soon.
VYPE: Do you have an athletic family, and did you try several sports growing up?
HEILBRUN: I have tried about every sport in the book but none of them have come close to volleyball. My mom was incredible at volleyball and she will be inducted
into the Hall of Fame at Sam Houston for her career there. My dad was a state runner-up for swimming but was also a stud at track and football.
VYPE: You have any nicknames?
HEILBRUN: My nicknames are Rae, Rach and lot of people call me RaeBae.
VYPE: What do you do outside of sports?
HEILBRUN: I am super involved with my church and love to sing on my worship team.
VYPE: What do you feel you bring to the team?
HEILBRUN: I think I bring a lot of energy and encouragement to the team. I also take a lot of pride in how I find different ways to score. I may not be the tallest on the team, but I know how to end rallies and I think that is because of beach volleyball as well.
3 Things to Watch - Klein High
SOPHOMORE SETTER: So, it's tough to step in as a sophomore setter, who is virtually the QB of the offense. But replacing the likes of Camryn Kling and Annie Antar is an uphill climb. Kinslee Smth is growing up quickly and doing a solid job on a state-ranked team with big expectations.
CHEMISTRY, CHEMISTRY, CHEMISTRY: According to coach Kate Zora, the success of this team relies on its
team chemistry. There were some tremendous leaders who graduated last season and finding the right rotation is tough with some new pieces. A new setter and defensive specialist are two big holes to fill, but the Bearkats are still the team to beat in the district.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Annie Antar has stepped right in as the starting setter at North Florida. She shares the role but is playing huge minutes as a freshman. Right up the road is Devan Taylor, who is starting at Clemson and is the team's leading defensive specialist in the early season. Also, Camy Kling is the starting setter at North Alabama and Abby Sweeney is in the starting rotation at Smith College.