Volleyball has made its way back to campus at Tarleton State University, where Coach Mary Domine Schindler and the 2007 TexAnns began workouts this week.

Tarleton will open the season Aug. 24 in tournament play at Arkansas Tech University in Rusellville, Ark. With only 15 days remaining to prepare, Schindler is stressing fundamentals and team unity during preseason practice sessions taking place at Wisdom Gym.

“Basics, basics, basics,” Schindler said of the focus early on. “I want them to get an understanding of our offensive and defensive system. That, and team chemistry. With eight new players, they are getting to know each other and just starting to gel together.”

Of the eight additions to the roster, five are incoming freshmen. One of the new arrivals is NCAA Division I transfer Kaley Hoover, who comes to Tarleton from Northern Colorado. Hoover used her redshirt year at UNC in 2006, and will be a freshman for the TexAnns this fall.

“They’re ready,” Schindler said of the TexAnns. “I think they understand that they have a lot of potential, so their excited and working hard.”

The TexAnns are being led by three seniors who have the confidence of their coach.

“Their all strong,” Schindler said of the seniors, a group that includes Alisha Bourgo, Susan Domine and Crystal Starling.

Tarleton is looking to have a winning season in 2007, after finishing just below the .500 mark last year. The TexAnns were 14-15 in 2006, but did manage a winning tally of 6-4 in Lone Star Conference South Division play. The TexAnns went 5-4 at home, 4-7 in road contests and 5-4 when playing on a neutral court.

In conference play this season, Tarleton and the rest of the LSC will not be competing in Divisional play. Instead, all squads will compete in one league. Tarleton is picked to finish sixth in the annual LSC preseason poll.

“That’s what I expected would happen,” Schindler said of the poll. That’s basically third out of the teams from the south, with teams that finished 1-2-3 in the north ahead of us. To me, that doesn’t really matter. It only matters where we finish, and we want to do better than that.”

Perennial power West Texas A&M is picked to repeat as LSC champions this fall.

BRAD KEITH photos