Archive for Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Volleyball tabs new head Bobcat

Junior varsity coach takes over for departing Robinson

November 26, 2002

Volleyball has been a significant part of Lisa Phelps' life.

From an all-state high school volleyball player in Council Grove to the beaches of California and North Carolina, Phelps has played volleyball across the country.

Having found her way back to Kansas, she is taking on a new challenge as the head coach of the varsity volleyball team at Basehor-Linwood.

"I'm here because I love volleyball, and I'm going to be a good coach," Phelps said. "I'm excited to see where the volleyball program is going to go."

While this will be her first experience as a head coach, Phelps will take the helm with some knowledge of the Basehor-Linwood program. This past season, she was the junior varsity coach for the Bobcats while Mardy Robinson coached varsity.

When Robinson stepped down from that position to focus on basketball, Phelps jumped at the chance.

Phelps said Basehor-Linwood School Board Vice President Pat Jeannin actually set the ball in motion. She said Jeannin told her of the opening and told athletic director Joe Keeler that he should interview Phelps.

She had that interview and took the job.

"Lisa is a highly experienced volleyball person," Keeler said. "She has a collegiate background and has been very involved in coaching over the years.

"She definitely has a passion for the sport and is very focused on taking our volleyball program to the next level."

Now, Phelps, a stay at home mother living in Shawnee, is excited to start the new season.

"I love volleyball," Phelps said. "I'm real active, athletic. I like to be involved, and it was a chance for me to get out of the house again. I've just always loved volleyball. It's a life passion."

Unfortunately, Phelps is taking control of a team that has not had recent success. During this last season, the Bobcats went 8-23.

With that in mind, Phelps is already considering ways to improve the team.

"They have a lot of potential, a lot of talent," Phelps said. "The problem with the volleyball program now is that it needs a lot work. It needs a lot of consistency from grades six, seven, eight and continuing on through high school.

"I want to build a program that raises players so when you get to the varsity level, you're not throwing a team together."

Phelps wants to build a legacy, and she said it starts next year. She said the team has a lot of work ahead of them, and to accomplish their goals, they will need team leaders. Next year, Phelps said only four seniors will return to the team, but of those, Katie Burchfield and Kelly Schaffer may emerge as the leaders she is seeking.

"They're going to probably be able to lead the team with attitude and experience because they've had varsity experience," Phelps said.

Phelps added that the setter because of the nature of the position is generally a leader. The ball always goes through the setter. A team can have great hitters, but without a good pass, those hitters are irrelevant.

The Bobcats' setter this year was senior Cristin Burnett. She was the team's MVP and only member of the all KVL team. She will graduate this year creating an opening for somebody to fill.

Phelps said she predicts Morgan Kenney will fill that void.

"Morgan has a great attitude and she's a hard worker," Phelps said. "She got some varsity experience this year which I think is going to benefit her greatly next year. She's going to be thrown in probably as the lead setter."

Phelps said she would be better able to assess the leaders of the team next year when she starts working with the players, but she feels that everybody will be important. Each player that steps on the court will be essential to success.

Phelps said she wants to have success immediately, but in order to reach the level she wants, it will take time.

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