Continuing our conversation with new volleyball coach Melissa Christman as she takes over the highly successful Lake Highlands program:

Q: LH went to the state final four in San Marcos last year, but lost a lot of great players to graduation. Does it make it harder or easier taking over a program that experienced last year’s success?

A:I don’t feel like it makes it tougher. I’m glad they went, and I’m glad the school I was with [Highland Park] went. We all know what it feels like now. That’s a big ingredient, having girls who have been there, even if they didn’t play. They’ve been there at ground zero.

Q: Will former coach Cory Williams, who is teaching in the area, continue to be a presence in the program?

A:  She’ll be in and out. In fact, I just talked to her. She is still a presence in that many of the things we’re doing are the same. It’s a great system. It wouldn’t make any sense for me to come in here and change things, like I’m some sort of expert, when she has been doing it so well for so many years.

Q: What is your impression of this year’s group of players?

A: They’re tough. They’ve got a mean streak in them and I like that.

The Q&A continues on the jump.

Q: Are you nervous about coaching your first match as as head coach?

A: It’s funny, everyone keeps asking me if I’m doing OK. I’m not nervous. I want to get going. I just want to get to work.

Q: What are your interests besides volleyball?

A: I’m a big travel buff. I went to Belize and New York this summer. I’m planning to go to France over Christmas. Volleyball and travel are my two favorite things. Eventually, I hope to have a family, but for now I’ll take two out of three.

Q: If a player or parent wanted to get on your good side, what should they do?

A: Well, I like Italian food [Christman named a couple of Italian restaurants in the Highland Park area she likes, but so far has yet to try any in Lake Highlands].

Q: Coming from a school with a similar name, do you find yourself saying "Highland Park" instead of "Lake Highlands" a lot?

A: Yes. I’ve pretty much broken it, but for a while I did.  And "Scots" and "Cats" isn’t a real help either.