Fresh faces join volleyball program

Team building is one of the most important aspects of a sport, and for Lady Golden Eagle Head Volleyball Coach Stacie Johnson, this is no exception.

Along with weekly practices, the team is currently working through a book study together. The current sophomore and junior players are studying about leadership, while the current freshmen are reading about integrity.

“The intentions for the book study are to create a bond between all of the team, and to focus on how to make the new players feel welcome to our team,” Johnson said.

Three new freshmen will be added to the team during the Fall 2012 season including: Audrey Dearien, a 6’ outside hitter or middle blocker from Frisco, Texas, Libby Blasingame, a 6’1” middle blocker from Frisco, Texas, and 6’ Melissa Blakke, an outside hitter from Bentonville, Ark.

“I am excited for what these girls will bring to the team,” Johnson said.

The new team members will be on campus April 28, for new freshman testing with the team’s trainer.

“The hope is that this will help them be more prepared physically and mentally with what will be required of them,” Johnson said. “And it will encourage them to get to know each other and the rest of the team.”

Other ways that Johnson sees bonding is through each tournament that the team participates in.

“With tournaments, you can tell which lineups work best and who on the team works best together on the court,” Johnson said.

The push for team bonding has paid off. Transfer student sophomore Meghan Kenney joined the Lady Eagles Volleyball team this spring and can already see the strong bond that the team is creating.

“There is a lot of great team chemistry,” Kenney said. “I love how open and welcoming all of the girls have been towards me this semester.”

Kenney, who is also participating in the team’s book study, can see a positive difference in JBU’s team.

“The girls are not only all about the team, but they care about each other a lot,” Kenney said. “And coach Johnson isn’t just a volleyball coach, she is investing in our spiritual lives too. That’s not something that I saw at my old school.”

Kenney is most excited about playing as a defensive specialist this fall, and getting to know the team more and more.

Johnson hopes that the team will continue to grow spiritually and physically together, and will continue to challenge the girls to “become what God wants for [them].”

“I want the team to be a testimony to others,” Johnson said. “Their hard work is part of that. Every day we ask each other ‘did you get better?,’ and we will continue that. We want to see success in all areas.”