The Kenston volleyball preseason ran as expected for new head coach Steve Scherlacher. He was surrounded by experience, talent and focus.
The Lady Bombers have seven seniors returning from their 2012 Division I state final-four team, and four of them are committed to Division I college programs – Jaime Kosiorek, Emily Newell, Stephanie Bindernagel and Amy Pilat.
“The talent was as expected, if not a little better than what I expected,” Scherlacher said about preseason action. “There was a couple weeks of getting to know each other – players getting used to me and me figuring out all the little things about the players, like how they best respond, how to communicate with them.
“This past week, every time we’ve had a focus of something to improve on, we have seen improvement every single time, and that’s been an exciting part for me.”
Lead hitter Kosiorek will join the Bobcats at Ohio University. Middle blocker Newell has committed to the Colonials at George Washington University.
Libero Bindernagel will continue her career as a Sycamore at Indiana State University.
And back-row specialist Pilat will prowl with the Panthers at High Point University in North Carolina.
Also returning to the Lady Bombers’ starting rotation are seniors Taylor Curtis, Lori Zagar and Katie Coverdale and junior Jen Smith.
“The lineup is still changing daily until I figure out what’s best,” said Scherlacher, who also has been the director of volleyball operations for the Eastside Cleveland Juniors Volleyball Club in Mentor for 14 years now.
“I’ve been experimenting with integrating other players in that rotation. We’ll know a lot more after our first two weeks, because we have really good competitions.”
To start the season, the Lady Bombers are respected nationally as the No. 31-ranked team in the country by Prep Volleyball pollsters. Their schedule to start the season is one of the most demanding in Ohio, with Magnificat, Toledo St. Ursula Academy, Lake Catholic and Gilmour Academy lined up as their August opponents.
Adding to Gilmour’s firepower this season, the Lancers brought on first-year assistant coach Dan Coughlin, who resigned his position at Kenston in March after 10 years with the Lady Bombers – the last four as head coach.
In terms of Kenston’s schemes, there are not going to be any major changes, Scherlacher said.
“We’re going to be a little more aggressive offensively, and we’re going to use Jaime Kosiorek more out of the back row,” he said of his all-Ohio returnee.
“Each kid we have has unique offensive and defensive skills. It’s my job to put them in a position where they can be successful.”
Defensively, the Lady Bombers may introduce a new system, but it’s not game ready yet, Scherlacher said.
“I guess my message to the kids is, if you decide you want to be successful at something, then you’ll be successful,” he said. “That’s the kind of team we have. We’ll accomplish whatever it is we want to accomplish, if we truly want it and believe in it. So we just need to get them to buy into that.”