During a scrimmage in practice Thursday, new William Chrisman volleyball coach Mary Lile was not happy.
She dropped her clipboard and raised her arms as she was frustrated with the way her varsity squad lacked communication during a certain play.
She then had her players drop down and do pushups.
There are two things that Lile is pushing hard for in her first year as head coach.
“I am trying to get them to understand fundamentals and communication,” Lile said. “That’s why I had them stop and do pushups because there was no communication. We have to get better at communication. They stop after a certain point, but they have to continue throughout their entire play.
“Some of them have great fundamentals. We just have to put it all together. We’ll be fine. They have gotten better since the beginning of the summer.”
Senior Morgan Bauman said Lile’s approach has been effective.
“We do a lot of different drills. It helps us get ready for the season. She brings a new perspective of volleyball,” Bauman said. “She’s very nice. She knows how to coach us and gets us to understand everything.”
Lile inherited a young Bears team with just three seniors and they are getting a fresh start with a new coach after having three straight losing seasons. But it will be a rebuilding process, Lile said, even while returning six varsity letter-winners from last season.
So far, Chrisman has good numbers with 34 players participating in practice. Bauman returns as the team’s outside hitter, but has been practicing as a setter with Josephine Shaw, another returning starter, nursing an injury.
“Our varsity has looked OK, but it’s hard when you are missing your quarterback,” Lile said of Shaw. “We have to get all of our players back. (Shaw) is a good communicator. We’re missing that.”
Abby Bauman will shift from an outside hitter to a middle hitter, something she’s been working on adjusting to.
“(Lile) is having me do it because I am one of the tallest on the team now,” Abby Bauman said of the position change. “She said my quickness helps a lot. We will try it and see.”
Camryn Holloman is another letter-winner who should see time at outside hitter and Patience Farmer will be the libero.
Madison Kommel has earned a varsity spot as a middle hitter after playing junior varsity last season. Chloe Pangelinan is another former JV player who could split time with Farmer at libero. Mallory McGraw also got a promotion to varsity and will be a right side hitter.
“MK (Kommel) has really improved a lot since last year, and think she’s going to be a good addition to us this year,” Abby Bauman said. “Mallory has also stepped up a lot.”
Bauman added that having six returning varsity players has helped with the chemistry on the court.
“We have a lot of returners.” she said. “Our chemistry has gotten a lot better. We have been doing some team bonding stuff and have gotten really close and I think that really helps. The environment is a lot better and that will help on the court.”
Although it appears to be a rebuilding year, the Bears still have goals of winning the Suburban Middle Seven conference title and winning their first playoff game since 2011.
“Our biggest goal is getting past the first round,” Abby Bauman said of district play. “We’ve been talking about that a lot. We’re really striving for that.”
Added Lile: “I like that. But I think they can do more than that.”