New Coach Turns Brainerd Volleyball Around
Two years ago, the Brainerd volleyball team only had two victories. Now, with only a month left in the season they are 12-4, so what has changed? Well, for starters, the coach.
“I tried to change the mentality,” Rick Kuehlwein, Brainerd’s Volleyball Coach, said. “They all have good athletic ability, but they didn’t necessarily have the volleyball skills that we were looking for, but athletically they were as good as any team in the city.”
They have proved their athletic ability as they only have one loss in the conference this year.
“Our defense has been a lot better this year than in past years, our serve receive has gone up a ton,” Ellie Peabody, Senior Right Side Hitter, said. “We are still just working on consistency with our hits.”
Brainerd’s one loss in conference was to Willmar, but the Warriors will have a chance to knock off the undefeated Cardinals on Tuesday.
“Our first time we played them, we just played super timidly,” Avery Eckman, Junior Outside Hitter, said. “We just need to play more aggressive.”
“We’re really looking forward to Willmar, as we always do,” Kealy Johnson, Senior Setter, said. “Our defense has come along so much since our first Willmar game, so we are excited to show them that we have improved.”
The student body at Brainerd has also taken notice of the team’s turnaround and has shown immense support for this year’s squad.
“There used to never be that many fans that came,” Peabody said. “I think once we had our winning season then it’s kind of amped up a little more for our games. So, I think it helps us feel energized on the court.”
“For my three years on varsity, I’ve never seen a fan section like that,” Johnson said.
“I was talking to our athletic director Charlie Campbell last night,” Kuehlwein said. “He said, ‘It’s been a long time since the gym has had this much excitement on a Tuesday or Thursday night.’”
And they have great reason to be excited as Brainerd is exceeding expectations and have many young players that can carry their success into next season.
Brainerd’s next game is tomorrow, September 27th, on the road against Sauk Rapids.