Barton Community College’s new head volleyball coach, Phil Shoemaker, has hit the ground running since his arrival in January.
Shoemaker took over the post, replacing Andrea Rasmussen, who was head coach for one year.
“We’ve been working with the girls since I got here in January,” Shoemaker said. “We only have a small group, only four players are returning from last season, but they’ve been working hard.”
Shoemaker, a 33-year veteran, who spent the last 13 years with the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, amassing a record of 132-180, has been utilizing several workouts with his players.
“We’ve been lifting weights,” Shoemaker said. “We’ve been going hard two days a week in the weight room, and working three days a week in the swimming pool.
“We do sprints in the pool, not swimming, actually running. We also do jumps in the pool, working on our leg strength.”
They have also done work on the court.
“We’ve been doing agility drills on the court,” Shoemaker said. “We’re practicing about an hour and a half, three days a week on the court.”
With only four players back — outside hitter Mackenzie Orchard, outside hitter Jori Mote, libero Kiara Rivera and outside hitter McKenzie Piland — Shoemaker has hit the recruiting trail hard.
“It’s not necessarily that small a number,” Shoemaker said of his returning quartet. “It’s kind of a good news, bad news situation. We get to bring in fresh blood, find the kids that we need.”
He said there are subtle differences in recruiting for a junior college rather than an NCAA Division-II school.
“In some ways, you’re still looking for the same athletes,” Shoemaker said. “You’re just looking for an athlete that still needs some development. They need to reach a higher skill level, but they have the muscles and potential to do that.
“We want to help take them to the next level.”