By Chris Chaney
The Bethel-Tate athletic department added another new face to its roster over the summer, bringing in Colleen Gaffney to head up the girls’ volleyball program and take over varsity head coaching duties for Jane Loudermilk.
Gaffney, a Goshen High School graduate, came across the Bethel-Tate opening in a roundabout fashion.
“I saw (the job opening) on the (school’s) website and I applied earlier in the spring,” Gaffney said. “I was applying for the physical education job and got that. Then, they told me about (the volleyball opening).”
Gaffney played volleyball while she was at Goshen and went on to play at the Ohio State University at Newark for two years. Following her college career, Gaffney came back to Clermont County and began her coaching career helping out with the Lady Warriors junior varsity team while also coaching at St. Andrew St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School in Milford.
Gaffney is optimistic that her Lady Tigers will compete at a high level in the Southern Buckeye Conference, coming off of a 5-17 year.
“I think that we have the potential to do well this season,” the new coach said. “I’ll be looking for some leadership from my seniors.”
The beginning of the season is right around the corner with the Lady Tigers slated to begin the their schedule on Saturday, Aug. 17 when they host Georgetown and Mariemont for a tri-match.
The Lady Tigers will get four matches under their belts against out-of-conference foes before they begin their SBC-American Division schedule on Aug. 27 when they host Western Brown.
Gaffney will depend upon her experienced upperclassmen to provide leadership for the program as she still gets acquainted with the new faces.
“I’ve only been working with the team for about a month,” Gaffney said. “We’ve had open gyms, but not everyone has showed up.”
Gaffney has tryouts for the team set up for Aug. 1 and expects a roster to be finalized in the days following.
The Lady Tigers finished in fourth place in the SBC last year with a league tally of 3-7. The lone returning All-Star is Christine Meyers, an outside hitter who was named to the SBC-American First Team All-Conference.
Gaffney, along with Meyers and her fellow upperclassmen, will be competing against a strong conference schedule headed up by defending champions Western Brown. Goshen, Norwood, Amelia and New Richmond will also appear on the Lady Tigers’ schedule twice as league opponents.
For the time being, Gaffney is getting her team in match condition and implementing her coaching style over the final weeks of the preseason. She is also excited about what her new job entails.
“I’m really excited for the opportunity and happy to become a part of the Bethel-Tate community,” she said.