Sterling College Volleyball Coach Jenny Ellis Named Conference “Coach of the Year”

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Do the little things and everything will fall into place!” This was the motto of the 2009 Sterling College Lady Warriors Volleyball team, and it came true. The team, and the season, “fell into place,” finishing with a 13-5 record and third place in the conference and with “Freshman of the Year” and “Coach of the Year” honors.
At the beginning of the season, many would have advised sticking to “the little things,” since not many expected the new coach and a team with many freshmen to accomplish much in the way of big goals. But Coach Jenny Ellis had other ideas. “The girls learned this season that if they would be diligent to work on the little things and to be the best they could be, success would follow.”
Though the season started out a little bumpy, the team worked hard. “Coach was very disciplined with us, that was a large part of it,” said freshman Kelsey Deerinwater, winner of the conference “Freshman of the Year” award. “That kind of wore off on us girls. We were ‘done’ with losing. It was time to show people we can play volleyball, that we can have a winning program.”
Once the team began winning, team members began to “buy into the vision that I cast and work our way up in the conference,” said Coach Ellis. “We were not always the most talented team, but at the end of the day, we knew we had given it all we had in order to be the best we could be.”
“We came together as a team,” said senior Staci Curry. “Much of this was because of a strong Christian push from our coaches. They helped us be in much stronger mental and physical shape—and they pushed us to be better players and Christians.”
The work paid off. Not only did the team vastly improve its record over last year’s (the overall record was 19-11) and win two of the “big” conference awards, but several other players were recognized for their play. Katie Trayser, a freshman, Deerinwater, and Ashley Kraft, a senior, were named first-team all-conference. Adriana Gonzalez, a freshman, was named second-team all-conference. Staci Curry and Renee Swisher, both seniors, were named honorable mention, and numerous players were named as a conference “player of the week.”
Coach Ellis, who is assisted by her husband, Jeremy, and by Dr. Kevin Hill, chair of the business department, is pleased with the way the team pulled together this year. “It took us a little while to get used to each other and for them to trust me,” she said, “but we dedicated ourselves to working hard and becoming a great volleyball team. I could not be more proud than I am of our girls.”
Athletic Director Andy Lambert credits much of this growth to Coach Ellis. “Jenny is an exceptional combination of recruiter, coach, and mentor. Her ability to get the most from her student athletes is outstanding. We are blessed to have her at Sterling College.”
And Curry agrees. “I think that the program is headed in a wonderful direction. They couldn’t have picked a better coach than Jenny. I think she will steer this program to the top of the conference.”