By Rob Kiser
First-year Edison volleyball coach Shelby Pitsenbarger has already taken the first step.
The Lady Chargers, who played with six players at times a year ago, are now 14 strong — quite possible the largest roster Edison has ever put on the floor.
“Absolutely,” Pitsenbarger said about rebuilding the program. “We only have one girl back from last year. I’m excited to have 14 players. It is the largest roster we have had here in some time.”
Pitsenbarger knew exactly what she wanted in putting the team together, having played for the Lady Chargers herself.
“I knew what I was looking for,” she said. “I knew what I was looking for when I got into the job and I kn0w the teams we play.”
Leading the outside hitters will be the lone returnee from last year Rachel Foreman (5-7, Greenville), while Tasha Potts (5-9, Piqua) and Kerri Meade (5-7, Riverside) are also in the mix. Adding depth at outside will be Molly Dunlevy (5-7, Bradford).
Potts had 176 kills, 166 digs, 15 blocks and 16 aces for a Piqua team that advanced to the D-I sectional finals last year.
The middles will be Mikaela Oyer (6-0, Indian Lake) and Brianna Wells-Barnes (5-11, Sidney).
Adding depth at the middle position will be Kenzie Atkinson (6-0, Covington) and Kortney Phipps (6-0, Houston).
“I feel really good about this group,” Pitsenbarger said. “Rachel (Foreman) is our lone player back from last year.”
The back row will be led by two Taylors.
Taylor Stover (5-5, Versailles) who is from Pitsenbarger’s home high school and Taylor Bachman (5-2, Piqua).
Bachman was the libero on three straight Piqua teams that advanced to the D-I district finals and is the career leader in digs at Piqua with 1,109 — to go with 109 aces.
Hannah Wurmer (5-5, St. Marys) will also be a key member of the back row, with Jessica Apple (5-4, Piqua) adding depth.
At the setter position will Allison Watkins (5-4, Fairlawn) and Rebecca Hickman (5-4, Miami East).
“I feel really good about this team,” Pitsenbarger said. “They have been working hard.”
And for a group that has never played together in a sport where chemistry and communication is so critical, things have come together quickly.
“Actually, these girls have really meshed well,” Pitsenbarger said. “You would think they had been playing together for seven years.”
Pitsenbarger knows it will be a challenging season, particularly in the OCCAC.
“I know we are going to be the underdogs in most matches,” she said. “I would like to think we can (compete with anyone in the OCCAC). I don’t mind the underdog role.”
A surprise season would just be the next step in rebuilding the program.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.