New era in CHS volleyball starts Thursday
By Eric Becker
CARLINVILLE (Aug. 23, 2018) – The Carlinville volleyball team may have new coaching leadership this season, but it’s been business as usual as the team prepares to open the 2018 season at Auburn Thursday night.
Fran Struble’s 930 wins in 38 years of coaching have been replaced by one of her former players and assistant coach in the form of one Kaitie Hammann. It’s the first new head volleyball coach at CHS since 1980.
“The girls have worked so hard,” Hammann said of the preseason practices. “Their attitudes have been so good. This past week we’ve been working on rotations and figuring out the positions. They’ve taken it and ran with it. They’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do.”
The Cavaliers are coming off a 23-14, sectional championship season in 2017. They may have lost in the Vandalia Supersectional to Newton, and the five seniors are going to be hard to totally replace, but the Cavies do have reliable players coming back.
That includes three seniors, including Adrianne Welte at right side. “She’s playing all six rotations,” said Hammann. “She only played in the front row the last two years. She’s a big hitting and blocking force for us.”
Senior Lexi Egelhoff returns at middle blocker. “She’s the only player returning in the exact same position from last year,” noted Hammann. “She can really jump out of the gym. She can hit that ball very hard.”
The other senior is Jordyn Houseman, who is the libero this season.
“Her passing has really come on,” Hammann said. “She’s a very good role model for our younger passers.”
Junior Sarah DeNeve returns to the setter position after being a defensive specialist last year. She takes over for Sydney Bates, lost to graduation. She had set for Hammann at the junior high and JV levels.
The Cavaliers do have some new outside hitters in juniors Kelsey McKee and Sydney Bowman. Sophomore Gracie Reels will also be an outside hitter for the Cavies this season.
Junior Olivia Turley provides good serving ability, while sophomore Lexi West and freshman Jill Stayton will also help provide backup roles this season for the Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers open at Auburn before a newly formed Carlinville Classic, a four-team tournament, on Saturday at CHS and CMS. Athens, Wesclin and Carrollton will all bring their varsity and JV teams to town for the tournament.
“They can wait for games,” Hammann said. “They’re all really excited to be starting those games. You use summer to prepare, you use two-a-days to prepare, but it always helps to get those games started to really see what we can do.”
Gone from the schedule are the Edwardsville and Pawnee tournaments. Along with the Carlinville Classic, the Cavies will travel to New Berlin on Sept. 14-15 for its tournament. The Carlinville Invitational is Sept. 29 and the county tournament, also at Carlinville, the following Saturday, Oct. 6.
“We’re trying to start the season with more non-conference games to get the kinks out before we go into the South Central Conference,” Hammann said. “It’s nice to see some of those teams we could potentially see in postseason early on, see what we can do against them,” Hammann said. “I’m excited to look for new competition.”
Conference-wise, Pana is the defending conference champion. Greenville has some good hitters and Staunton gave the Cavaliers fits last year. Those three should be fierce competition. “The conference is going to really good,” Hammann said. “I feel like it’s up in the air.”
Four of the schools – Carlinville, Southwestern, Litchfield and Greenville – have new coaches. Roxana also has a strong team with good hitters.
Carlinville has added a pair of new volunteer assistants in former player Megan Stayton, a 2015 CHS graduate, and former Southwestern coach Julie Kinser also joins the staff.
Mt. Olive Wildcats
The Wildcats embark on another season after a rebuilding 2017 season with first-year head coach Amanda Osmoe.
Osmoe now enters her second season with former standout Brianna Henke serving as an assistant coach.
“We have three returning starters,” Osmoe said. “Overall season goal is to improve from last year in all aspects of the game.”
The Wildcats return senior middle hitter Lillian Gretak, senior setter Kayleigh Ziglar and sophomore outside hitter Miranda Matta. A top newcomer is sophomore outside hitter Hailey Odorizzi.
Kaitie Hammann is the new Carlinville head volleyball coach.