By Chris Chaney
One of the things Amelia Lady Barons head coach Joe Chaney stresses to his volleyball team is that in a competitive league like the Southern Buckeye Conference’s American Division, there is no such thing as a night off.
At 6-7 overall and 3-2 in the league, the Lady Barons are right in the hunt for a league championship, but the team needs to bring their “A” game every night to contend and that’s something that Coach Chaney likes.
“The league is pretty tight competition and talent-wise,” the coach said. “Any team can beat any other team on any given night. We’ve played flat at times and when you do that you’re going to beat. That’s the nice thing about having a good, tough league: if you slip up, you’re going to get toasted.”
So far, Amelia has only slipped up twice in conference play, dropping their two matches to the two teams that the Lady Barons are currently looking up to in the standings, Norwood and Western Brown.
Looking specifically at the talent level on Chaney’s team, he mentioned that a lot of his players have experience playing club volleyball, which not only keeps them bumping, setting and spiking year round, but it also keeps them in contact with their team members who play alongside them both for club and for school.
A relatively young roster made up of only one senior to go along with a handful of juniors and sophomores speaks volumes about the team’s talent level. However, the lone senior, Kendall Kaiser has been the tone-setter for Amelia.
“(Kendall) is our middle blocker and she’s had a great season,” Chaney said. “She has a great attitude and has been a great team leader.”
Other strong members of the Lady Barons roster include sophomore setter Hannah Fletcher who Chaney described as having a great attitude and someone who is always hustling. Kendall’s younger sister, Kassidy, is another of Chaney’s standouts and one whom the coach said is doing a good job of learning on the fly.
Anchoring the net for the Lady Barons is Chaney’s intimidator, Diana Jorden. The coach said Jorden, who plays middle blocker and right-side hitter, along with fellow junior Alex Scholl are the team’s enforcers, “smacking the daylights out of the ball” and lead the attack.
“We’re (playing with) a lot of effort,” Chaney said. “We have a great attitude as well, which is huge. Our talent has come along, we have four juniors who are in their third year on varsity, so we have a lot of experience even though we’re pretty young.”
While the Lady Barons warmed up for their second go-round with the American Division, they faced a handful of National Division teams in which, to this point, they have split, 2-2. Chaney’s goal was to go .500 or better through that stretch with most of the matches on the road. A final interdivisional game against Clermont Northeastern on Tuesday was the decider. That result was not available at the time of publication.
Over Amelia’s final seven games, five will be in the league against their divisional rivals and Chaney would be pleased to duplicate the success the Lady Barons had their first time through.
“I would love to come out of the league 5-5 or 6-4,” he said. “A winning record would be sweet in such a tough conference.“
And finally, the coach has one final goal that’s achievable with the sectional tournament looming. However, Amelia’s distinction as a Division I school has the Lady Barons playing the best competition in the city.
“I don’t know if Amelia has ever won a playoff game,” Chaney said. “I would love to sneak in a win or two in the playoffs.”
The sectional tournament begins the week of Oct. 13.