The student online newsmagazine of SHS

The Journal Rewired

The student online newsmagazine of SHS

The Journal Rewired

The student online newsmagazine of SHS

The Journal Rewired

photo contributed by Bei Hnei
Senior Bei Hnei and his club team stay focused during their volleyball game.

‘Dig’-ging deeper

Boys volleyball players focus on building their skills through offseason training

In the past 10 years, boys high school volleyball has grown exponentially from just over 50,000 to nearly 80,000 participants according to the American Volleyball Coaches Association. Over this same period, the SHS team has mirrored this trend. The past few years have brought more boys to volleyball tryouts than ever before, reaching over 70 players last year.

Just as the interest in boys volleyball has increased, the playing level has too. The team won almost 70% of their games last season and was ranked as highly as eighth in the state according to the Indiana Boys Volleyball Coaches Association.

Head coach Ethan Coffman credits much of the team’s recent success to the sheer amount of volleyball the boys play outside of the school season, which allows them to build their basic skills before they even join the high school team.

“I’m not actually teaching a lot of basic fundamentals,” Coffman said. “They’re doing a good job coming in. I’m fine-tuning things, working on team chemistry and working on some of those little things.”

In the past, most players have gotten in extra practice through church, YMCA and other leagues. Today, however, about nine players participate in club volleyball during the offseason.

Previous barriers to club volleyball included the cost and travel distance to both tournaments and training sites. A new volleyball club, The Volleyball Company, remedied some of these issues.

Not only will the club help SHS, but it can also benefit surrounding schools like Franklin Central High School and Greenwood High School, which will ultimately benefit the sport as a whole, according to Coffman.

“For us to provide something on the southside of Indy can really harness and help a lot of teams,” Coffman said.

Hnei crouches as he gets ready to hit the volleyball. (photo contributed by Bei Hnei)

Though this is senior defensive specialist and libero Bei Hnei’s first season on a club team, he believes he has already and will continue to benefit greatly from it.

In the school season, the Cards move quickly, not spending much time on the fundamentals. For Hnei, this makes his time playing club all the more valuable.

During the club season, he has time and practice to perfect the basics, which gives him a better foundation for when the school season comes around.

“Club volleyball gives me a chance to focus on the basic level skills like controlling (the ball) and all of those,” Hnei said. “It refreshes all of those skills I tend to forget.”

Senior opposite hitter Van Hlei has had a similar experience playing club volleyball. This is also his first year participating in club, but he previously played volleyball through his church during the offseason.

Not only does club volleyball provide players with exposure to other talented opponents, but it also enables them to play alongside players from other schools.

According to Hlei, playing with people from outside SHS has helped him become a more well-rounded player.

“It helps me learn to adapt to new people like new teammates … ,” Hlei said. “It’s a different environment.”

The new environment and challenge of club volleyball has allowed Hnei and Hlei to hone their skills, and they believe that they will see the fruits of their labor during their season this spring.

A large portion of the team is seniors, and with the Cards more driven than ever before, Hnei thinks they have a shot at the state title.

“This year, we have a lot of seniors and we improved a lot,” Hnei said. “We are motivated. We are excited, so I think we can take state this year.”

Coffman gives credit for all of the team’s recent success to his players. Their commitment to playing and improving their game year-round has allowed the team to flourish.

“The guys lead the way,” Coffman said. “They’re doing club. They’re doing church. They’re playing two, three times a week, and the more you play … the better you’re going to be.”

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About the Contributor
Lucy Hiller, Sports Reporter
Howdy! My name is Lucy Hiller, and I’m a senior this year (whoop whoop), so I’m savoring every last second I get at SHS. For my third year on The Journal, I’m back as a Sports Writer. I spent last year as the Sports Editor, and while it was a truly incredible experience, I really missed getting to write and share peoples’ stories with the world. Outside of The Journal, I’m on the cross country, swimming and track teams at SHS, and I just got a job at Fleet Feet, so if you ever need running shoes, come find me. In my free time, I enjoy playing piano, reading and cooking (go check out @lucys.yums on Instagram). I also love spending time outdoors, especially on hikes with my family (and of course, Benny, my dog). One thing I’m really excited about this year is getting to help elementary students at Homecfort produce their own mini version of The Journal because it’s so rewarding to see their excitement when they finally hold the paper in their hands. I hope I haven’t distracted you from our content for too long already, but you should totally get back to reading all of the articles that has to offer.

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    lucy Len dimDec 12, 2023 at 10:31 pm

    lucy!!! this was so well written & i love the angle of this story, keep being amazing girl :)))