After the Whistle: MLS Volleyball team’s new coach is helping turn the program around

After The Whistle

Over the last few years, the Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood volleyball team has struggled to find consistency, whether it be on the court or keeping coaching staff.

Although the girls have only played eight games, they believe this year is on the up, and that’s thanks, in part, to their new coach.

“Unfortunately, we’ve kind of had a revolving door of volleyball coaches which has been a detriment just from the stability standpoint for the girls,” said Jaime Adams, activities director.

Callie Carlson is navigating her first year as head coach of the MLS volleyball team.

“I love the group of girls and I love volleyball, so it just seemed like the right time,” Carlson said.

She’s a Mohall native and played on the team back in high school. Adams was her coach during senior year.

“Callie was just an incredible player, too. She’s always had such a good competitive mindset. Understands the game. Understands like team dynamics and how, you know, energy contributes and enthusiasm and buy-in with your coach is saying. She always kind of got it and it showed on the court as a player,” Adams said.

Carlson is using what she learned as a player, as well as some tips from Adams to help these girls find success.

“One thing that was really surprising was that the girls respond well to punishment and discipline. Which is something I was never really going to enforce. I’m pretty laid-back so I wasn’t necessarily having things like that on the forefront. But, based off of feedback that they’ve given me, they’re like, ‘We need that to focus. We need that to, you know, get better!'” said Carlson.

“I honestly like love her as a coach! She’s so positive, like good vibes. We all have been getting along so great as a team. I love that because that’s so important in volleyball,” said Kylie Abernathey, setter/middle hitter.

“I love Coach Callie. Yeah, she’s so fun to have and her energy is just so fun. And, yeah. All of us girls love her,” said Allison Undlin, middle hitter/setter.

“She’s really fun, and a nice coach, but she really cracks down too and teaches us what we need to know,” said Madison Moberg, outside hitter.

Last year, the Mavericks went 1-17.

“I think we made a lot of changes all at once last year and we just never really found our footing,” Adams said.

With most of last year’s team returning, Carlson knew she had a difficult task ahead: building their confidence.

“I can see it out there when we start to get down, sometimes we get down on ourselves and just think, ‘Well, we’re a team that can only win one game. But, we’re working really hard to change that mindset and just try to build some new experiences to look back on and say, ‘No, we did come back from a loss. No, we did win a game in five. No, we did do things that are really impressive and we do have a lot of talent,” Carlson said.

So far, the girls are 3-5.

“It was honestly so great because we were like, ‘Well, now we’re tied! Like, now we can only go up from here! Like, let’s just beat last year’s record.’ That was our main goal this year was to win more than one game,” said Abernathey.

“We’re only halfway through the year so just knowing that we’ve already won two more games than last year, total, it’s just really exciting to know how far we’ll go,” said Moberg.

They’ve been going to five sets with dominant teams like Bishop Ryan and Surrey.

“It’s like, ‘You know what? We can do this.’ Like, gaining back confidence from last year just winning one. Like, going to five is so big for us. Like, just little steps at a time, and then maybe we’ll be able to take them when it really matters,” said Abernathey.

“Our strength is definitely just overall athleticism and intelligence. I think that will carry us a long way as we continue to see more teams and learn from, you know, failures or upsets and just keep getting better along the way,” said Carlson.

Another strength that has helped them turn their season around is finding their way.

“I think they’re coming into their roles and starting to understand where they fit into the puzzle. Getting feedback from me and saying, ‘Hey, you’re a really great passer. Keep it up.’ I’m noticing that turn into more confidence on the floor and being a little more aggressive. Like, I just don’t think they’ve known what they’re talented at,” said Carlson.

“I love seeing them on the court getting together after every point. Last year you could tell just body language-wise that they just weren’t on the same page. So, I think that’s contributed a lot already to at least some early success,” Adams said.

Carlson says seeing the change in the team’s attitude…is a goal she set for herself before taking the position.

“I really wanted to create a culture around volleyball because that’s been missing from this school for a while,” said Carlson.

“I’m proud of what she’s doing so far. Hopefully, she can keep it going and they’ll continue to make strides,” Adams said.

“I’m just looking forward to keeping on getting better, and being with my team and having fun. That’s the biggest part for me is, I just want to look back and say like, ‘We gave 110 percent. We had fun,” said Abernathey.

The girls say their goal this season is to go to regionals.

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