The Allison Smith era of Brownwood Lady Lions volleyball began at 6 a.m. Thursday as the first-year head coach held the first of two practices at Warren Gym on the official opening day of the 2010-20 UIL high school athletic year.

“It was a great first day of practice,” said Smith, who played volleyball both at Burnet High School and Howard Payne, the latter from which she graduated in 2016. “We started off with an 800-meter run and that's a pretty difficult run. It's pretty much a long distance sprint, and the girls had to make it under 3:30. I knew from the beginning as soon as we started that the enthusiasm was there.

“I had girls that needed to finish the run and other girls stepped in and finished the run with them and encouraged them the entire way. They ran so hard, they were tired and drenched in sweat and still ran with their teammates and that's something I really enjoyed seeing. I didn't have to tell them to do that, it came natural to them. I knew it would from being in this community.”

Pleased with conditioning for the most part, Smith was also happy with the way the Lady Lions absorbed a new system and terminology from their third head coach in as many seasons.

“When we got on the court everybody did exactly as I asked the first time,” Smith said. “I didn't have to stop and do any extra, which is great for an incoming coach because I got to see them actually working on their skills on the court non-stop.”

As is always the case in volleyball, there's a quick turnaround for the Lady Lions between the initial practice and first matches of the season. On Tuesday, Brownwood will welcome both Clyde and Breckenridge in a dual match to kick off the 2019 campaign. Start time is slated for 5:30 p.m.

“I've got to get my teams set and I have to get the rotation and plays that I want run to match the girls,” Smith said in regard to her most pressing goals between now and Tuesday. “I'm going to be focusing not only on the varsity team but the JV and the freshmen as well, and getting everybody on the same page. I need to teach everybody the style of defense that I want and the offensive style that I want.”

A more in-depth look at the Lady Lions' season will be included in Sunday's edition of the Bulletin.