After 40-years the volleyball program is back at Merkel High School!

“Most of us have never played before, um, except for like church volleyball or playing around with friends in the pool,” said Kloe Pursley.

“I am very excited because I just like haven’t played volleyball yet, and it’s finally in Merkel, and I’ve really wanted it all these years,” added London Fulfer.

This fall girls of all ages around the Merkel community will be able to hit the court and discover their love for a sport that previous generations of Lady Badgers did not have the chance to play.

“We had almost 90 girls at camp this week from 4th grade to 12th grade. They’re hungry, and I love that. You see the passion and the joy in their faces light up because it’s something new and they’re starting to be successful at it,” said Merkel Head Volleyball Coach Mitzi Bell.

For seniors this is the first and only time they will be able to hit, set and spike at the high school level. This fall they’ll also have the opportunity and the platform to inspire the next group of young female athletes.

“In middle school I played basketball, but if there was a volleyball team I would’ve been the first one right there in middle school, and all of these kids are getting the opportunity finally. They can look up to us older kids and see that wow, this is their first year doing it and they’re giving it their all even though they have no clue what they’re doing,” said Avery Chacon.

Sometimes picking up a new sport can be intimidating, especially for younger kids. However the up-beat, educational and fun atmosphere Coach Bell created is already seeing positive results.

“Pushing us to do stuff, she was letting us learn new skills and like encouraging us to do everything and trying our best,” said Fulfer.

“Volleyball has brought a lot of new girls into our athletic program and I love it, and I love Coach Bell. She’s so energetic and so much fun and she just brings so much joy to all of us,” added Pursley.

“Bringing in a new sport, something they’ve never done before, they needed to have immediate success early and that success is with fun,” said Coach Bell.

While fun is one of the pillars of this young program, Coach Bell says the Merkel Lady Badgers have plans on competing for a gold ball in their inaugural season.