The end of the 2018 volleyball season brought a close to a 17-year run of Steve Chapin, ushering in a new era of St. James volleyball.
That new era features more than just changes at the top.
Jodi Geistfeld, Natalie Oldenburg and Heather Spitzner are all new to the St. James staff.
Oldenburg has worked with many of the players is spring and summer practices, and hopes to continue to grow on the fundamentals learned in those summer sessions.
Geistfeld had previously coached at GHEC-Martin Luther but had been away from volleyball for a few years.
“You need to be able to run quick,” said Geistfeld. “You used to be able to have nice high sets, but now girls have learned to block those.”
“I’m just wanting to see the girls grow and jive as a team and get that quick offense going,” said Oldenburg.
St. James saw ten seniors graduate from last year’s team, but still brings back core pieces Korryn Karau, Kaydi Anderson, Maddie Brey, and Chloe Mickelson.
“I haven’t set any expectations yet, we’re just trying to figure out what we have,” said Geistfeld. “We know we have the talent, we just have to put people in the right spots.”
With that talent and the season opener coming up on Saturday, Geistfeld’s team still has some work to do on the court.
“We have a lot to work on. We can hit the ball, but we have to be able to get the ball to the setter.”
The Saints saw their first action last week in a scrimmage, giving Geistfeld and her staff a full glimpse of what they on the roster.
“We definitely need to work on passing,” said Geistfeld. “We can’t run an offense if we can’t pass. We can’t run a fast offense if all of our passes are from behind the 10-foot line.”
The changes to the offensive scheme place an increased amount of pressure on the setter, who will need to be on target with passes to the outside hitters. Those hitters, with the increased pace, have had to make slight adjustments in attacking the net, specifically when it comes to their footwork.
St. James begins regular season play as host in the Big South Conference Showcase against Luverne.