Young Bulldog team entering new season with new coach
McLouth volleyball is in the same situation as its football counterpart last year's assistant is this year's head honcho.
As Shannon Crouse is to the MHS football team, so is Calleen Turney for the Bulldog volleyball squad. Crouse replaced Ballard Patterson, while Turney takes the helm from Vicki Bechard. Both Patterson and Bechard still teach at MHS, but now Turney, like Crouse, is the leader of the pack.
Turney's junior varsity squad was the only MHS team to post a winning record. The varsity meanwhile, went 4-26 last season, so Turney, like Crouse, inherits a team that isn't used to winning.
"We're a very young team," Turney said.
Actually, MHS doesn't have a player with varsity experience, so convincing squad members they can win might not be all that difficult.
Melissa Hoffsett and Amanda Brown are the lone returning seniors, while junior Emma Prochaska also highlights the returnees.
With such a young team, Turney's biggest concern is leadership. She said her junior varsity had problems last season holding teams off. On a few occasions, the JV Bulldogs were up 13-1, only to have their leads slip away into eventual losses. To avoid that this season on the varsity level, Turney said she would be searching for leaders.
"That's one thing we're needing more than anything," Turney said.
The Pitt State grad has been working her team early and often. The team had two-a-days up until last week. During the double practices, the Bulldogs started at the early hour of 5 a.m. Turney said the team has responded.
"They've been very enthusiastic," she said.
Turney said she's been trying players at different positions in preparation for the season.
For MHS, it could depend on how well the young team responds to the varsity level.
"I think we'll probably do pretty well this year," Prochaska said. "I hope."