By Garth Shanklin
The Goshen Warrior volleyball team sits at 7-4 on the season, 3-2 in the Southern Buckeye Athletic and Academic Conference as of this writing. That’s quite the leap forward for a team that won just eight games total a year ago.
They started the 2016 campaign with a tri-match against Eastern Brown and Western Brown. The team defeated Eastern 25-21, 25-14 but lost the match with the Lady Broncos 17-25, 25-21, 18-25.
From that match on, the team went on a tear. They defeated Mariemont and Clinton Massie in three sets, only to again fall to the Lady Broncos in four. After that matchup, the team ripped off four straight wins against Batavia, Fayetteville and Norwood, propelling them to a 7-2 record entering a showdown with the New Richmond Lions. Head coach Amy Schmidbauer says the team’s quick start can be traced back to their offseason workout routine.
“It’s a testament to the hard work that the girls had put in over the summer and during the pre-season,” Schmidbauer said. “We faced a huge league opponent twice early in the season and realized what we needed to do if we wanted to reach our goals.”
That opponent was Western Brown, a team the Lady Warriors have struggled with in the past. Goshen then returned to the court for a tough road contest against the New Richmond Lady Lions.
While they were swept in a 3-0 loss, the Lady Warriors kept the match competitive, dropping the first set 26-24 and the third 25-23. Schmidbauer believes the squad can emerge victorious in any match, regardless of the opponent, and the New Richmond game only helped solidify that belief.
“I have always believed that the girls are capable of beating any team,” Schmidbauer said. “They played better than they have all season in that first and last set versus New Richmond. I told them going into the game, we have nothing to lose, but everything to gain. I finally saw that team come together in an unstoppable way. When the girls are both mentally and physically tough, they’re not going to make it easy for any team.”
The team took some time to find the best fit at certain positions, but once that got sorted out the work put in by the players in the offseason helped propel the team forward, Schmidbauer said.
“It took us some time to determine who fit best where and to develop our team’s chemistry, but the work these girls put up in the offseason has really showed since day one,” she said. “We’ve really improved both our hitting and blocking and are just a more aggressive team overall, which was one of the areas we focused on most. Our defense has also solidified with the help of our libero, which was new to the team this summer.”
Schmidbauer feels the team needs to find some consistency as the season winds down.
“I’m happy with the way we’ve played against other teams, but I’d like to consistently see that same team I saw against New Richmond,” Schmidbauer said. “Now that New Richmond and Western Brown know that we’re going to be competitive, we need to focus on having less errors if we want to reach our goals.”
The team’s goals have not changed, according to Schmidbauer. They still want to end the season with a winning record while focusing on winning conference games. The team has a non-conference home match against Goshen on Thursday, Sept. 22 at 5 p.m. Their next conference contest is a home bout with the Batavia Bulldogs on Tuesday, Oct. 4.