New-look Lady Warriors get their feet wet quickly

The Goshen girls’ volleyball team lost seven seniors to graduation last year, meaning that much of the team that went 14-6 overall and 8-2 in league play last fall are missing. However, the new faces of the Lady Warriors are keen to pick up where their former teammates left off.

“We graduated seven seniors from last year, so I knew this was going to be a new group getting started and rebuilding a little bit,” head coach Lisa Smith said. “They’ve done a great job so far, we spent a lot of time in the summer trying to get ready with some open gyms and conditioning, then getting in the weight room and they’ve all been working very hard.”

The Lady Warriors have had to convert their off-season training into solid play very quickly in the season as Goshen has gotten off to a hectic start, playing five matches during the first week of the season, which also coincides with the first week of classes.

“We’re just starting to gel a little bit right now,” Smith said. “This week was really tough because we opened up with games Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and then we had a tri-match on Saturday, so we had five matches within the first full week of school, so it was a little stressful. Right now, we’re 2-3 and they’ve shown some growth.”

The Lady Warriors opened their season with a hard-fought loss to defending Southern Buckeye Conference National Division champions Williamsburg in a four-set match.

Kicking off their divisional season the next day, the Lady Warriors defeated Amelia in straight sets and took care of Bethel-Tate in a four-setter on Thursday, Aug. 30.

The Lady Warriors lost both matches on Saturday, Sept. 1 to Little Miami and Roger Bacon, respectively, but still are standing in good stead as far as conference play goes.

While the Lady Warriors may have lost a couple of key pieces from the year before, there are still members of that team who are a year older and more experienced.

“We have four seniors,” Smith said of her squad. ”(Trisha Murphy) is a senior setter, but this is her first year setting varsity and she’s going to be a key player. I’ve also got (Brandi Steele) who is a sophomore setter and then our two middles will help us out. Erin Ross and Julie Graber-Pels will help us out on defense in the back row. Then Courtney Wilson is our outside hitter.”

Wilson is the lone All-Conference selection returning for the Lady Warriors. She was named to the Second Team last year as a junior.

Even with the frenzied start last week, there will be no rest for the weary as the Lady Warriors play three conference games in seven days. The Lady Warriors hosted Western Brown on Tuesday, Sept. 4 and will play host to SBC newcomers, Norwood on Thursday night.

With a weekend off, the Lady Warriors will finish off their set of conference games with a match at New Richmond on Sept. 11.

“I think with Norwood coming in, they’re a challenging team and Western Brown is always strong,” Smith said of her expectations for the rest of the season. “Our goal every year is to win the league. Seeing both of those teams this week will be a good way for us to see where we’re at as far as the league goes.”