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Sunday, March 18, 2007

The more things change, the more they remain the same. This is from the October 2006 issue of The Talon, Astronaut High School's newspaper. If you want to read the entire issue of The Talon, check it out. You'll see some names you will recognize.

As you may remember, Daron was born around the time you started playing volleyball. This past weekend, she and I met up with your 'old' volleyball coach, Hans. I never knew Hans's last name; it was always just "Hans", like Sting or Prince or Cher. Well, here he is, head volleyball coach now at AHS and Miss Daron, all growed up!

New Coaches Serve Up Changes for Volleyball

By Devin Spoerle

“If we lose games, that’s my fault but if we win, it’s all them,”proclaims Hans Holtskamp, the new coach of the varsity volleyball team. “The team will do well because the girls work together and have fun.”

Last year, the girls had a 10-9 record. Holtskamp plans on helping the team become more successful with a better record than the previous years. Although this is his first year as head coach at Astronaut, he has been coaching now for eight years and has played a lot of volleyball himself,including beach volleyball. He has found three freshman girls that he believes will contribute to the varsity team: Mallory Johnson, Jenna Hostetler (oh my gosh, she is all grown up!), and Chelsea Mack. He has put them all in the front middle position because he says they have “potential”.

“I feel like we are all being made a part of the team, even though we are freshman,” explains Mallory Johnson. “Being a freshman, I have already experienced the competition volleyball atmosphere when I played Cape Coast and I think the team is going to do well because Holtskamp always pushes us to do better.”

Holtskamp does not believe in having team captains. “The same girls have been standing out at practices and in our first game. Lauren Jernigan, Becca Nelsen, and Megan Wilson, all juniors, have all stepped up when it comes to leading the team,” said Holtskamp.

“Hans is going to make a huge improvement from last year and really benefit our team,” said junior Becca Nelsen, “I think as a whole team we just really want to make it to districts and hopefully come out on top.”

The team did not practice very much over the summer because the gym was being remodeled, but they are determined that it will not affect their performances. At the beginning of the summer, Dean Jeanne Andrews was originally going to be the head coach. She stepped down from the position and allowed Holtskamp to step up.

“Due to construction being done at my house and ‘old age’, I would not have had enough patience. Also, Hans is a much better coach and Erin is going to be great,” said Andrews.

Holtskamp came in with only two weeks to practice before the girls’ first pre-season game. The pre-season games were played by Astronaut High School, Merritt Island High School, and Titusville High School. Although the girls did better than expected with such little time to practice, Astronaut was not victorious this time and lost in the first four matches against both schools.

“I think the new coach has the quality to teach us new skills to make us much better for districts,” said senior Megan Reaves. “I have no doubt that we will be a good team because we all work well together and we’re all friends.”

The junior varsity volleyball team also has a new coach this year. The new coach is Erin Lelle who played on the volleyball team when she attended school here in the late ‘90s (interesting....). She is very involved and excited about this year. The JV team is made up of one freshman, eight sophomores, and one junior.

“Our volleyball team will do well because we all work great together and blend all of our talent together,” said freshman Chelsea Swanger. “The new coach pushes us and works us every day to improve. Because of this, I think we will be very successful.”

The volleyball program has always been driven by its determination and hard work. The junior varsity girls agreed that coach Lelle will be a huge help in their upcoming season.

“She gets down to it,” explains sophomore Chelsie Lipscomb. “ She’s very serious, but at the same time, she’s fun and that’s what I like so much about her.”

The girls say that she is always pushing them to hustle and work really hard at practice so that in a game they are ready to win. The JV team is expected to win numerous games because they all come together when it’s time to play.

“We’re going to do great because we all communicate really well and hustle no matter what,” said sophomore Rachel Browne. “Personally, I want to work on consistent serves and getting every down ball in.”

Their coach also tells them that serving is one of the most important aspects of the game besides passing. This is now very significant to Rachel because she understands that in a ‘rally scoring’ game, every serve counts as either a point for your team, or the other.

Both new volleyball coaches have already had a major impact on the teams. Individually, both teams believe that they have a good chance at winning many games this year due to the fact that they have coaches pushing them to be better. After seeing the improvements that have been made, they have a better chance of beating the few tougher teams in the county and advancing to the playoffs.

Daron hangs out with Hans, but refuses to play volleyball for him. Dunamis!

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