After coaching freshman and JV teams for several years, JoAnne Brademeyer is moving up to the big chair as she accepted the position as head coach for the Indian Lake High School volleyball team this fall.
Brademeyer admits that “there are a few butterflies” that come with her new responsibilities, but is happy to be working with what she calls “an amazing group of girls who are driven to win and want to learn more in order to do so.”
The rookie coach inherits a squad that went 11-13 overall and 3-5 in the CBC Mad River Division last year, ending its season with a sectional semifinal loss to state-ranked Kenton Ridge.
Brademeyer has four letter-winners coming back to this year’s team, including Michelle Grider, who as a junior was a first-team all-MRD middle hitter for the Lakers in 2014. Also returning from last season’s squad will be senior Hannah Kilgore and juniors Morgan Evilsizor and Sammi Miller. Coming back to the game this season is Rachel Kimmel, a 5-foot-9 junior, who Brademeyer said adds some much needed depth to the Lakers.
“With only four returning letterwinners, we are a young team,” Brademeyer said. “We have made a few changes with positions and are still ‘experimenting’ with various options. But one of our strengths is ‘coachability’ and eagerness to learn.”
It’s not just the players who are on a learning curve this fall. Brademeyer has one of her own.
“There is definitely a lot more strategy involved at the high school level,” Brademeyer said of her new responsibilities. “But I take pride in what I do, and I want to do my best for the girls and our program.”
Brademeyer expects the Mad River Division to be wide open this year and said everybody could be in the mix for the title at the end of the season, and that includes her own Lakers.
“All of the teams in the (MRD) can be competitive and there are never any givens,” Brademeyer said. When asked if there were any “big” games circled on the schedule, Brademeyer said, “Ben Logan, Urbana and Graham are all big games for us!”
In addition to the regular MRD schedule and CBC-crossover matches from the Kenton Trail Division with Bellefontaine and Springfield Shawnee, Brademeyer and her Lakers have non-conference games with Kenton, Riverside, Jackson Center, Sidney and Wapakoneta, a schedule that will put her young team to the test. But ultimately, getting the hardware in the trophy case is Brademeyer’s first priority.
“We would love to win our league and will definitely work toward reaching that goal,” Brademeyer said.
Indian Lake opens Mad River Division play Tuesday, Sept. 1, with a match at Northwestern. Two days later on Sept. 3, the Lakers travel cross county for their first meeting with Benjamin Logan, with the Raiders scheduled to return the visit to Indian Lake High School on Oct. 1.
Tom Stephens is a regular contributor to this newspaper.