A Growing Sport: Boys Volleyball Popularity Rising in Texas

Photo By Jamey Wright

Originally Appeared on VYPE

TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS FANS ARE AWARE – the Lone Star State's girls' volleyball is among the best – if not THE best – in the world.

Recently, there's been a movement for Texas high school boys' volleyball.

While the exact number isn't confirmed, there are less than 100 boys' Texas high school volleyball teams in existence today.

The Southwest Preparatory Conference has nine teams that include Episcopal, Kinkaid and St. John's in the Houston-area and St. Andrew's and St. Stephens in the Austin area. There are 20-30 more teams (mostly private schools) in the Dallas Metroplex area, but none are sanctioned by the University Interscholastic League (UIL). Compare that to over 1,200 UIL-sanctioned girls' teams.

The approach to high school boys' volleyball in Texas is the "club" space – a group of teams that play at the high school level, but in the private sector. Think lacrosse, which is sanctioned by the Texas High School Lacrosse League. Or hockey, which has a few club organizations.

Boys' volleyball has a lot of growing to do on a national scale. On the collegiate front, the NCAA has only 45 schools that compete.

"The boys' game has a ways to go," stated Butch Hart, the "Godfather" of Texas volleyball media. "There's some really good talent out there. In my opinion, Nathan Lietzke (St. Andrews High School; Austin Juniors Club Volleyball) is the best player in the state – he's going to Stanford on scholarship.

"The key to growing the boys' game will be finding a time period when they can play. Texas high school sports is packed – football in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball, track, soccer and lacrosse in the spring. There must be a time when you can get boys to play volleyball."


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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF O'BRIEN'S COACHING

Not my job: Texans outmatched when it counts against Steelers

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Another game, another loss for the Texans. This time it was only a seven point loss to the Steelers as they fell 28-21 in Pittsburgh. This time around, Bill O'Brien looked to be on his game as far as decision-making was concerned. However, there is still room for improvement.

One thing that I did appreciate that O'Brien did was have trust in the offensive line. The Steelers pass rush could be problematic, but their defense overall is very stout. That's how they were able to nearly make the playoffs last year with a Duck at quarterback. While the Texans did give up five sacks, they weren't all due to poor offensive line play. The Texans lost 33 yards on those five sacks. Tytus Howard and Zach Fulton handled themselves fairly well after looking like turnstiles the first two games. O'Brien called longer developing pass plays and play action in spite of this and it paid off with Deshaun Watson and his receivers putting up 264 yards in the air.

There also wasn't an instance of Bumbling Bill this game. At the end of the first half, there was a minute and fourteen seconds left. The Texans were down 17-14 and had all three timeouts with the ball on their 25-yard line. Classic Bumbling Bill situation right? Wrong! Not only was the play-calling on point, but the players executed and the timeout situation was handled perfectly. First timeout was used after getting to midfield with 47 seconds left. Timeout number two was used after a 20 yard gain after the previous play. A 15 yard gain later to the Steeler 14-yard line and timeout number three was used with 28 seconds left. This set up perfectly for them to call a multitude of plays. They only needed one as Watson found Will Fuller in the end zone on a jump ball in which Fuller rose up and was physical enough to grab the ball over the defender. They went up 21-17 at the half.

Bill O'Brien's teams were 37-3 when leading at halftime. I say "were" because they lost this one after not scoring a single point in the second half. This was more on the defense not being able to fight its way out of a wet paper bag, and a lack of execution by the offense. Specifically, the run defense has been atrocious and Watson either needs quicker reads or to stop holding onto the ball so long by making quicker decisions. That's on coaching to put players in positions to succeed, but also the players to execute.

Ultimately, this was on O'Brien the general manager more than O'Brien the coach. This roster is woefully outmatched. The only time an outmatched roster can compete consistently is in college football with a wacky offense. It just doesn't happen in the NFL. Hey, at least Bumbling Bill didn't rear his butt chin today. Today's Culture Map play call menu was brought to you by Pour Behavior. I suggest getting over there and checking out their daily specials.

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