By Garth Shanklin
In two seasons, 2011 and 2012, the Goshen Lady Warriors volleyball team won a total of 16 of their 20 Southern Buckeye Athletic and Academic Conference matches, both times finishing second in the American Division to Western Brown.
In the three seasons since, the Lady Warriors have won a total of 11 conference games, bottoming out with a 2-8 league record in 2015.
Now, with a new head coach in place, Goshen looks to return to their winning ways. Coach Amy Schmidbauer coached the Lady Warriors’ junior varsity squad in 2015. This offseason, Schmidbauer said she worked to make sure the team was better prepared for the season by getting her players involved in games over the summer.
“We did a lot more prep work this year,” Schmidbauer said. “I made sure that they were always doing things in the preseason. I signed them up for a summer league that allowed our younger girls to get more experience. A lot of players from last year joined club teams to get more experience, so when they came back there was a lot of growth from last year.”
The Lady Warriors will return a number of players from last year’s team, which finished the season with eight wins, including a victory in the sectional tournament. Schmidbauer said the leadership on the team is one of the squad’s selling points.
“We had a couple transfers from Ryle High School in Kentucky,” Schmidbauer said. “We graduated some seniors, but we have some juniors that were held back onto junior varsity last year that have moved up. There are five seniors this year, so there’s strong leadership on the team. The sophomore group is also really talented.”
Of the five seniors, three of them played under Schmidbauer on the junior varsity team in 2015. A fourth senior, Anna Dowd, also plays basketball for Goshen, which has allowed her to become a stronger leader on the volleyball court.
“Fortunately, I had three of them on junior varsity last year,” Schmidbauer said. “We worked well together already. There was one senior who played four years of varsity who is extremely helpful, she’s also a setter so she’s running our offense. She’s really good at being a leader. She knows how important it is for the success of a team to have a team relationship.”
While the 2015 campaign may not have gone the way the team wanted, they appear to have turned the page and expect 2016 to be different.
“We all fully expect to be competitive,” Schmidbauer said. “These girls dream big. They want to win, they want to be noticed for their hard work. We want to make sure we’re competitive every game and I fully expect that out of them.”
The Lady Warriors open the regular season with a tri-match against Western Brown and Eastern Brown on Aug. 20 at 10 a.m. The match will be held at Eastern Brown. The team’s home opener will be one week later, on Aug. 27 against Clinton Massie at 10 a.m. The team does have two home scrimmages scheduled, one against Glen Este on Aug. 15 at 4 p.m. and another against Wilmington on Aug. 18, also at 4 p.m.