It doesn’t take long to figure out that libero Justine Prewitt is the leader of the Lady Dawgs’ volleyball team.

Come to a match and you’ll hear her encouraging her teammates and shouting out instructions. Come to a practice and she’s the one her teammates turn to, for instance when coach Wally Brooks makes them run sprints at the end of practice.

Yes, she is the Lady Dawgs’ defensive specialist. But she is also a psuedo-assistant coach.

“You have to keep the team together,” Prewitt said. “It’s a lot of responsibilty other than just digging. You can see the other side of the court so you can tell the setters to set to hit the crossing shot or down the lines.

“And you have to be there to talk to them.”

Prewitt, a sophomore, is another in a long line of Lady Dawgs to come out of one state’s top high school volleyball programs, Red Oak.

There she learned under longtime coach Arthur Stanfield, one of the most respected high school coaches in the state.

Prewitt has moved into a leadership role and to the libero position with ease because of her high school background. She already has over 300 digs this season going into tonight’s home match against Temple College, the first of four straight home matches after 13 straight on the road.

“He [Stanfield] teaches fundamentals and a lot of skills for more than one position,” Prewitt said.

Prewitt said her plan wasn’t to play volleyball at Navarro. She played catcher in softball at Red Oak and wanted to focus on that in college. But the Lady Dawgs’ previous two liberos had come from Red Oak, so volleyball turned out to be her sport of choice.

All three Red Oak players had been hitters in college, but again because of the strength of Stanfield’s program, all were a natural fit as junior college liberos.

Prewitt is often called upon to be the coach on the court. She tries to keep her teammates calm during a run by their opponent.

“She pumps us up,” sophomore outside hitter Tracey Rosenauer said.

Last week, Prewitt had teammates asking her what was going on when Brooks made them run several sprints after a loss to Hill College the night before and also something that he didn’t like about how practice was going. Prewitt said it is often after these times that she talks to her teammates.

“We always get together without coach,” Prewitt said. “I tell them it’s not always coach’s fault.”

Brooks said Prewitt also often offers strategy ideas that he willingly uses. “She may see something that I can’t see from the bench,” Brooks said. “She’s going to be a coach someday.

Her teammates say her competive fire rubs off on all them.

She doesn’t want to lose,” freshman middle blocker Amanda Lowe said. “She never quits.”

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