After the Whistle: South Prairie-Max Volleyball talks new coach, co-op and JV experience

After The Whistle

“We love the sport,” said Keturah Schwarzrock, head coach.

Schwarzrock is navigating her first year as head coach.

“It’s been a blast! I really couldn’t probably ask for a better first year of head coaching,” said Schwarzrock.

Previously, she was the school’s J.V. coach which helped her develop relationships with the younger girls who now start on varsity.

Like freshman Azjiah Trader.

“I would say she’s a really good coach. She knows what she’s doing and she knows how to make us work. She’s not afraid to yell at us which is good and I just like her as a coach!” Trader said.

But having a new team isn’t the only unique thing.

This is also the first year they’re co-oping with Max.

“They were very welcoming from day one. And, they were so nice and just made us feel at home,” said Summer Krebsbach, libero.

Heading into the district 12 tournament, the Royals were 3-4 in their district, 1-7 in region 6 and 8-12 overall. Playing tough teams like Our Redeemer’s and Bishop Ryan.

One of the things Schwarzrock has tried to help these first-time starters get used to is the pressure of playing at a higher level.

“Sometimes it’s just pressure they’re not used to. We’re playing against juniors and seniors who have done this for a couple years. But honestly, we’ve got the drive that really pushes them to get that third set, or fourth set or even fifth set win,” said Schwarzrock.

“I think she knows exactly what she wants and she’s really good at putting us in the right places and utilizing her players,” said Krebsbach.

Putting everything together on the court when you’re still learning how to be a team can be challenging.

“I think just the basics. We tend to forget and it’s just not that good for us,” said Taya Bearman, outside hitter.

“Just to not be worried, not be scared. Just have fun and just do your best,” Trader said.

“I think believing in ourselves. I think we have all the potential in the world, but it’s just utilizing our skills and bringing it to the court,” said Krebsbach.

“I think we just can’t get down like at the beginning. If we get down, it’s hard to come back up. So, we have to just get up and stay there,” said Bearman.

And if the set or match isn’t going the way they hoped…Schwarzrock makes the most of a timeout to get their heads back in the game.

“I usually tell them, ‘Mistakes are going to happen and that we play a lot of really good teams.’ So, I mean, we can’t expect to just come in and blow everybody out of the water,” said Schwarzrock. “We’ve never been able to be that team and I think we’re starting to see some of that. But, it’s okay to lose, but they have to be able to look past that and know that it’s the next point, it’s the next set and not worry about what happened in the last set.”

“She usually just tells us that we can always do better and it’s just not how we play if we’re down like that. She just motivates us and gets us back up,” said Bearman.

“She normally says like just to get our heads up. Shake that one off if we’re doing bad. And, if we’re doing good, she just motivates us and we congratulate all of the players that did really good,” Trader said.

One of the things this team does well…is something they can all agree on.

“I’d say we’re pretty good at talking. We can be really good at communicating together. We all love each other,” said Bearman.

“I think we do well with motivating each other. If someone is down, we like, go talk to them and make sure they’re okay and like, ‘Oh, you’re good. We got it.’ And, we’re pretty good on defense. We could work on covering a little bit,” Trader said.

“I think that we communicate really well when we’re playing good. We’re just good at keeping our heads up and encouraging our teammates,” said Krebsbach.

“Our goal is to come in and play volleyball and play the best that we can. I tell the girls that minimum errors is the team that’s going to win. Ultimately, but also not to be afraid to make mistakes because they’re going to happen. So, just be aggressive, work hard and at the end of the day, I mean, I’m never going to be upset with them if they can tell me that they went out and gave me 100 percent effort,” said Schwarzrock.

As the 2021 season comes to a close, Schwarzrock is looking ahead to next year and having ladies with varsity experience who didn’t have it before.

“They know what they’re coming into, and they know what it’s going to take and they know what it takes now to beat a lot of these teams. So, I’m really looking forward to that and seeing them just continue to get better because I’ve already seen so much improvement this year already,” said Schwarzrock.

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