New season, new coaches


The volleyball program has been a highlight of the Wahlert community for decades. The team never seems to disappoint, proving themselves year after year to be a threat. Although the players change every year, they still improve everyday with the help of the coaching staff. 

More recently, the volleyball program has been very successful. They won three state titles in the past four years as well as included more than five players who moved on to play in college, some Division I colleges.

Then, when the 2020 season approached, a change occurred that shocked everyone. The team received a new set of coaches. The coaches may be a change from the recent years, but they have plans and techniques that are allowing them to stand out and show their strength in coaching.

First, the new head coach, Paige Griffith, although only 24, knows her stuff. Coach Griffith played most recently at Loras College as a setter. Her life experiences have allowed her to bring her own style to Wahlert. 

“My future career involves mental health, so I am really trying to focus on the social, emotional, and physical parts of volleyball. I am trying to make a completely new program,” said Coach Griffith.

One technique Coach Griffith is implementing is a journal for the players to write in. Some days after practice, the team sits down and answers prompts in order to put more time towards their mental health. Since Coach Griffith is knowledgeable about mental health, she is sure to focus the players’ health on all aspects.

People may recognize the new volunteer assistant coach, as this isn’t her first time coaching on the Colbert-Delany court.

Julie Kieffer returns this season to be a volunteer assistant coach after working under Tom Keating in 1998 and being head coach in the years 2003-2009.

“I am excited to be back, to be helping out. It’s definitely an adjustment, learning my role as an assistant coach, but I am enjoying myself very much,” said Kieffer. 

“I’m here to support Coach Griffith, maybe tell her a few ins and outs here and there,” Kieffer continued.

Returning volunteer assistant coach Michelle Reidy is excited for this season to see the progression each of the players makes.

“Working alongside Coach Griffith has been great so far. I enjoy learning from her experience as an all-conference setter. She brings new insights to the team, and I see the growth everyday,” said Reidy.

“As for Coach Kieffer, I have a newfound appreciation for her. Since I used to be coached by her when I went to Wahlert, it’s nice to see her as more than a coach. She also has a good eye for skill, which is helping us learn more from our mistakes and grow,” said Reidy.

This is Reidy’s fifth season coaching overall, but her fourth consecutive season.

With the Covid-19 guidelines, coaching and playing is especially difficult this year for all sports.

“Communication is very challenging with the masks. I even have a hard time breathing while coaching, so I can’t imagine what it’s like for the kids. But, we are still grateful for the opportunity to even play this season,” said Kieffer.

Coach Griffith agreed, “The biggest challenge is masks, but it motivates us to work even harder and improve every day. Coach Kieffer and I use each other’s strengths and weaknesses to our advantage. It’s important to build the connection with the team and implement it, so we are trying our best to go from there.”

This season will be a challenge for coaches and players. The volleyball program is doing its best to tackle any obstacles and show everyone just how powerful they are.