New Fort Scott Community College head volleyball coach Lindsay Hill has been a winning coach in the Jayhawk Conference before.
Hill, wife of FSCC head baseball coach John Hill, had an 85-71 record in four years at Neosho County Community College in Chanute from 2004-07. Her most recent job was as assistant to Pittsburg State head coach Ibraheem Suberu. In the last three seasons at Pitt State, Hill has been part of a program that's gone 67-37.
That's a stark contrast to a Fort Scott Community College program that's not been able to win 10 matches in a season since 2003. But not only does Hill believe she can win at Fort Scott, she feels like she has an advantage she didn't have when she first took over at Neosho County in 2004.
"Things were similar at Neosho as they were here in terms of trying to rebuild a program," Hill said Wednesday afternoon. "The good thing for me is that I've had since December to recruit. When I was at Neosho, I was hired in April and it was tough. So I think I can have a similar first year here as I did at Neosho, if not better. We have better, more talented kids here than I did my first year at Neosho, so that should help the process."
There are only two returning sophomores from the team that finished 5-28 last season in Sonya Petroski's final year. Heather Greer is an outside hitter from Pomona and Jessica Garrett is an outside hitter/middle blocker from LaCygne.
"Both of them have worked very hard to develop their play," Hill said.
The only other sophomore on the roster is Thamara Silva, an outside hitter from Sao Paulo, Brazil, who has transferred in from Indian Hills (Iowa) Community College.
Silva is just one example of how Hill has broadened the search for talent to come to Fort Scott. In past seasons, the net only went about as far as Springfield, Mo. This year, there's a player from California and one from Poland thanks to Hill's connections with MIAA coaches.
"The kids from Poland and California, we found them through Pittsburg State," Hill says. "(Suberu) suggested them come here and then he would take a look at them later. He believes in what we're doing here since I've just come from working there. So we are expanding the (net). We want to reach out to different places and broaden our horizons."
The FSCC program has 10 freshmen this season but all of them are new to the system that Hill wants to install. Taylyn Schwartz, from Eureka, is going to be the setter. Kate Smith from Liberty, Mo., will be the libero. Greer and Amber Thomas, from Stockton, Mo., look to be the outside hitters.
There are several candidates for the middle blocker position, including Garrett, Ashley Bell from Moreno Valley, Calif., Paula Okrutna from Pila, Poland, Ali Cure from Baxter Springs. Hill says she will make her decision concerning that position today.
Also on the roster are Britney Clark, a libero from Pittsburg, Mackenzie Nickell, a setter/defensive specialist from Osawatomie, Britney Timme, a right-side hitter from Archie, Mo., Molly Sutton, an outside hitter from Stilwell and Erika Getz, an outside hitter from Parsons.
Hill wants her team to play at a fast tempo, similar to what the teams at Pitt State do. She has emphasized passing and back-row play as those are keys to getting the offense going. She is also stressing discipline both off and on the court.
"We've told the girls that is our main focus," Hill said. "Discipline in ourselves when we're on the court to do our individual responsibilities and the team stuff will come when we do that.
"I'm a firm believer in discipline because that will create the young ladies that we want both on the court and off."
Short term, Hill wants to see the Greyhounds become a respectable team this season, which will lead into recruiting for next year. That, she feels, will lead to the long-term goal of having a program known for both its performance on the court and in the classroom.
The Greyhounds scrimmaged last weekend and though teams didn't keep score, Hill was pleased with how things went. The first official matches are this weekend as Fort Scott hosts a tournament at Arnold Arena. The 'Hounds will play Labette at 1 p.m. Friday and Cottey at 7 p.m. Then on Saturday, they'll play Coffeyville at 11 a.m. and Allen County at 3 p.m.
"We're looking for the girls to improve every day," Hill says. "We're a very young team. We'll probably peak at mid-season. We'll be looking to do the little things correctly so we don't give easy points away. If we can do the little things, everything else will fall into place."
Hill expects Cowley and Johnson County to be the top teams in the Jayhawk Conference-Eastern Division, as they usually are. She also feels Butler -- in the East for volleyball because of its Division II status -- Coffeyville and Neosho County are teams that will contend for the division crown.
NOTES -- There will be one fewer opponent in the division this season as Cloud County has moved back up to Division I and has been placed in the Western Division. Conference bylaws place all Division II teams in the East, regardless of physical location, and all Division I teams in the West....
Hill's assistant coach is Marisa Jordan, who attended Fort Scott High School through her junior year. Her family moved to Michigan for her senior year and she had to make a bit of an adjustment as volleyball was a winter sport and girls' basketball was played in the fall there at that time.
Jordan attended Northern Michigan University for a year before she transferred to Neosho County to play for Hill. After that, she played at the NCAA Division I level at Austin Peay.
Jordan's father, Keith, is an assistant football coach at FSCC and her brother, Owen, is the Greyhounds' backup quarterback on the football team...