Volleyball Team Seeks a Better Season with New Assistant Coach
Philip Zoppi – Sports Writer
Southern’s volleyball team has added Drew Schaeffer as an assistant coach for the 2016 season, as the team looks to avenge a disappointing 2015 campaign.
The Owls finished 7-26 last season and Schaeffer knew that certain aspects of the team were going to have to change to improve on that record.
“The kids have really bought into changing the culture,” said Schaeffer. “A couple of things we’ve talked about are being disciplined and outworking every team in the conference.”
He added: “The kids have immediately jumped on board with altering some of the things they did last year in order to be successful.”
Schaeffer comes to Southern with plenty of coaching experience. Most recently, he served as head volleyball coach at Oak Hill High School in 2014.
Lisa Barbaro, Southern’s head volleyball coach, believes Schaeffer is a good fit for their program due to his experience.
Barbaro is already seeing a difference in the way the team is acting and handling themselves this year as compared to last year.
“I’ve seen a major turnaround and difference in this year’s team from the returners,” said Barbaro. “Not only to get everyone to be working to the same common team goal, but also reaching out to the freshmen to establish the culture of this team.”
One of those returning players Barbaro was talking about is sophomore Leanna Jadus. Jadus busted onto the scene in a big way her freshmen year, recording 241 kills and 10 double-doubles, leading the team in both categories.
Jadus is expecting different results for the team this year and has made it a point to try and be a leader for the team.
“I am trying to take on a leadership role on the team this year because I feel more comfortable with my teammates and better understand our system,” said Jadus. “I want to encourage my teammates to take the time to get to know everyone on the team. I want to make the freshmen feel as welcome and comfortable as possible.”
Sometimes upperclassmen and freshman don’t get along at the college level due to fighting for playing time and other circumstances. Something Schaeffer was especially pleased with was not only the approach that Jadus took with the freshman, but the way the entire team approached the freshman.
“One of the things that the freshman talked about was how incredible it was to come on campus and have all the upperclassmen support them and help them,” said Schaeffer. “Everyone is always competing for playing time and that could have been a huge divide on the team, but the team really came together and decided that it’s going to take all 15 to be successful.”
The optimism for the volleyball team is not shared by everybody, as Southern was picked to finish No. 14 out of 15 in the Northeast-10 Conference preseason poll. Adelphi University was selected to finish first with 13 first place votes.
Even with that ranking in the preseason poll, Jadus is confident that this team will improve due to the way they are approaching this season.
“I think the team will be better this year because we have a completely different team dynamic to bring a more positive and supportive environment for our players,” said Jadus.
The Owls first home game will be on Sept. 13 when they take on Bloomfield College inside Pelz Gymnasium.
Photo Credit: SCSU Athletic Communications