Blacksburg volleyball under new leadership
Leaders of this year’s Blacksburg High School volleyball team have some strong views.
Take an opinion on what it means to be an effective coach offered prior to a preseason scrimmage with Patrick Henry earlier this week. To summarize:
An effective coach can simply be a coach. An effective coach also can be both a friend and a coach. An effective coach can never be just a friend.
The topic arose during a discussion of the Bruins new coach, Lezlie Logan, who appears to be a big hit with her hitters and setters.
“She’s a coach first,” senior outside hitter and defensive specialist Kaelie Altizer said. “She’s a disciplinarian. She’s also a friend.”
Which is just the way Logan’s new players like it. Also they love the results they’ve seen less than two weeks into the preseason.
“We’ve already seen huge improvement in the team,” said Lindsey Cusimano, also a senior and an outside hitter.
For her part, Logan has liked what she’s seen.
“They do have talent,” she said. “They’ve just been waiting for somebody to lead them.”
That somebody comes to Blacksburg with a background as a high school and club coach in Texas and as a college player at Francis Marion University. Logan sounds like she plans to stay put for a while.
“I want to build a program here,” she said.
Right now, that involves a lot of time behind the wheel of an automobile. During the school day, she’s a special education and biology teacher at PH. The position does have advantages for Blacksburg volleyball, as was demonstrated when she arranged for the Bruins to be invited down for the scrimmage with the powerful Patriots.
Blacksburg is coming off a 19-8 season in which it qualified for the Group AA Region IV tournament by winning the third place game at the River Ridge District tournament. The Bruins flattened Richlands in three games in the opener before losing to district rival and eventual state champion Cave Spring in the regional semifinals.
Five veterans return from that Blacksburg team including starters Cusimano and Callie Friedberg. Nobody uses the term “rebuilding year.”
“These girls don’t know what lazy is,” Logan said. “This is a group that is committed to excellence. They want stability in their program. They want to get to the top and they don’t mind working for it.”
That evaluation was confirmed by the players themselves.
“We like to work,” said Friedberg, the libero.
Team strengths include unity, work ethic, and volleyball intelligence. The Bruins shortcomings? Well, they’re short. Most of the height on last year’s team graduated.
“We’ll be a different type of team,” Friedberg said. “We’ll be scrappier and more close-knit.”
One strong player who would have been a senior on this year’s team, Jackie Greenberg, did not return. Her father, former Virginia Tech basketball coach Seth Greenberg, took a broadcasting job after losing the Hokies post and moved the family to Connecticut.
“We expected that she wouldn’t be coming back,” Cusimano said.
There are enough players on hand to make it interesting this year anyway. The new coach is planning on it.
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