By Chris Parker
Catholic has a new head coach in Brandy Glessner who moves up to the head job after serving as an assistant.
“Last year, I got to sit and talk to (former head coach) Teresa Hanafin, whom I had only heard good reports, and after a lot of prayer, I felt God pulling me to Springfield Catholic, and I am so glad He did,” Glessner said. “I could not have asked for a better mentor in my first year coaching in a high school program. Now, I am looking forward to my second year at Catholic. I have a passion for the game, and I have a great opportunity to share that passion with some awesome girls at Catholic.”
The Lady Irish won 11 matches last season and have to replace several key players including their top hitter, setter and defensive players.
Glessner will hold open competitions for all of the varsity spots as she tries to find the best mix. Her setter will be a key piece to Catholic’s success.
“I have a few potential setters this year,” Glessner said. “I need my setter to lead, so I will evaluate over preseason which of my setters will step up to fill the spot of last year’s senior setter, Leah Kuntz.”
The defensive specialist is also an open competition, but Glessner has a senior that is taking the lead.
“My libero position will go to the DS who works her hardest for every ball and lets very few touch the ground, communicates constantly with her team, and brings the most positive energy to the court,” Glessner said. “I have seen a lot of these traits in my senior DS, Christiana Kalapathy, so if she continues to work hard, she could definitely earn that position. I hope to see all of my seniors lead in these same manners.”
Catholic leaves the COC Small for the Big 8 West Division this year. It is a division that includes five former COC Small schools along with Big 8 stalwarts Aurora and Mt. Vernon.
“We will definitely see some good teams this season, but our focus is on our side of the court,” Glessner said. “We have already seen some great athletes this summer, and we learn and push ourselves to be better next time we see them. If we take care of our side, we will see good things happen.”
Glessner will look to establish a strong work ethic in her team as the Lady Irish try to climb back above .500 this season.
“My expectation for the Springfield Catholic program this season is for the girls to learn how to push themselves to their max. Giving 100% effort in everything they do, on and off the court, will surprise them in the results they see,” Glessner said. “I want my players to learn how to overcome failure and use it to push them to success. Every team, every athlete, every person encounters difficulty, challenges, and even failure, but what happens next is the most exciting part. I keep telling my girls ‘Little things make big things happen,’ so I hope they can focus on taking one step at a time to achieve success in all aspects of life, even if hardship finds them first.”
Catholic opens the season on Aug. 28 at Ava.