By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Kelsey West hasn’t been the Goshen High School volleyball coach for all that long, but she has been around long enough to have seen improvement in her players.
West, who got married over the summer, is the daughter of Fairfield High School coach Carla Herschberger. She has taken over for Kera Maure, who stepped down after last season.
“The girls have made a lot of improvement since last spring,” West said.
“They all have a good attitude. The girls are nice so we are working on instilling a killer attitude in them.”
As a senior at Fairfield she helped lead the Falcons to the team’s first-ever appearance in the state finals when they finished as the Class 2A runner-up to perennial powerhouse Munice Burris. She was the IHSAA mental attitude award winner.
The Redskins scrimmaged Bethany Christian.
“I was happy with the way we played,” the coach said. “Our passing was very good and we did a good job of running the faster offense we have put in. The girls have been open to the change. Coach Maure had the girls prepared. We are by no means starting from scratch.”
The Redskins have started the season by losing to Bremen and Westview.
Being a head coach is a new experience for West.
“I thought I knew what we going on. Mom tried to warn me there would be things come up,” West said. “I knew there would be some paperwork, but I’m not sure I knew how much there would be. I have learned a lot from Larry Kissinger (Goshen Athletic Director) and from other head coaches.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity. It will be nice to get as much fan support as we can. I would like to see as many fans as possible in the stands.”
Goshen returns a group of seven letterwinners from last season. Junior returnees are defensive specialist Caitlin Alwine, setter Natalie Evans, middle hitter Amy Harris, right-side hitter Jenna Minier, outside hitter Courtney Troyer, middle hitter Kayci Troyer and sophomore outside hitter Calsey Gruzdov.
“Alwine is a great libero,” West said.
“She has improved so much in her game that it is hard to get anything past her. Troyer is a good attacker and she is left-handed which helps. Harris has the blocking ability. One thing we want her to learn is how to be more aggressive at the net. Minier is a role player. She is one of our more consistent players. She can fill in where ever we need her on the court.”
Harris and Troyer are the tallest players. After that the size drops off.
“I was never that tall but played middle my whole life,” West said.”As long as you are consistent and put the ball in play you can make up for a lack of size.”
Losses to graduation were Leah Kissinger, Emily Mullet, Brittany Olson and Madison Ortiz.
The rest of the current varsity roster includes senior defensive specialist Katya Hernandez, junior defensive specialist Brooke Miller, senior outside hitter Alayna Robinson, freshman setter Carly Gingerich, and freshman outside hitter Macie Miller.
Jude Barger is back as the varsity assistant coach.
A lot of local interest may be focused on Tuesday, Sept. 17 when the Redskins travel to Fairfield.
“We played Fairfield a little over the summer in a league,” West said.
“It’s going to be weird going up against mom. We coach the same and I know the Fairfield system.
“We are going to be a growing program. It has taken years to build the Fairfield program and people will have to have a little patience here.”
Junior defensive specialist Brittany Buckmaster is on the JV roster along with sophomore setter Jenny Bustos, outside hitter Jenna Chupp, sophomore defensive specialist Katie Mullet and sophomore middle hitter Lexy Zickefoose. Freshmen are outside hitter Jenea Born, middle hitter Rylee Weldy and outside hitter Reagan Wilson.
Nicole Robinson is the JV coach.
The C team has sophomore middle hitter Cassie Brown, sophomore outside hitter Erica Frayre, sophomore middle hitter Audrey Miller, freshman defensive specialist Nicole Abbs, freshman defensive specialist Caitlyn Doyle, freshman setter Abbi Eldridge, freshman outside hitter Brittanie Gamez, freshman outside hitter Megan Gomez, freshman defensive specialist Elizabeth Martinez and freshman defensive specialist Alexandra Mast.
Steph Cook is the C team coach and she is assisted by Kim Bradshaw.