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Three seniors lead Lady Mustangs

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By Sam Draut

A new head coach, the loss of four seniors, two of which were All-State performers, and three freshman in the starting lineup might not seem to be a formula for success, but North Oldham volleyball hasn’t missed a beat from last year’s team that reached the state tournament. 

While half of coach Kayla Koerber’s starting lineup is comprised of freshmen, Hannah McGill, Addison Foote and Brie Postema, it has been the experienced presence of three seniors that have helped lead the Lady Mustangs to a top-10 ranking in the state and an undefeated record in Region Eight and District 29 play.  

On Thursday night, the three seniors, Brooke Hammons, Madison Clements and Hannah Mosier were honored before North Oldham’s final match of the regular season. Though the three admitted they didn’t expect the team to be this good, the Lady Mustangs won 35 straight sets over a 29-day span in August and September, but according to Koerber, she believed the talent was always there. 

Koerber spent the summer working with her young roster and developed a new culture around the program. But the indoctrination wasn’t just from coach to student-athlete. The three seniors helped Koerber adjust to the new position as well. They would call team meetings and created an environment where age didn’t matter, which was especially critical considering the youth of the roster. 

“They have been absolutely amazing. Especially coming in my first year, they were respectful in showing me the ropes and not pushy. They were respectful in following my rules and teaching me exactly how things are done here at North, whether it was leading the team or stepping up and taking initiative. Sometimes they had conversations with the team that I didn’t even have to bring up,” Koerber said. “So that was really amazing to see them be mature enough to realize that those were things that needed to happen without me having to prod them. They have been great leaders on and off the court. Obviously they are integral players in our offense and defense. Good student-athletes in general.”

What makes this group of seniors unique is the varying skill sets they each possess. Hammons leads the team in aces and is a powerful outside hitter. Clements plays around the net as a middle blocker while Mosier is the team’s libero and defensive specialist. They all play different spots on the floor and contribute differently. 

“With Madison being huge in the middle and then Brooke being great on the outside and all the way around, then Hannah being our lynch-pin for defense, it has been nice to let them have their own spotlight and each asset rather than all being defense or sharing the front row,” Koerber said. 

During the pregame ceremony, the three seniors were escorted out by their families to midcourt where they met with coach Kayla Koerber. As they walked out, teammates announced to the audience special moments and experiences shared with their senior captains. 

Hannah Mosier: “It was kind of weird to hear my name because we have been in the program for four years now. We always hear everyone else’s name, but now the spotlight was on us and it was different, but it was nice.”

Brooke Hammons: “My advice to the underclassmen was to cherish every moment because it goes by a lot faster than you think. Since eighth grade, I never thought it would be my senior year. It’s kind of cool for it to finally happen.”

The group of seniors has had three different coaches while at North Oldham. Brian Jones ran the program during their freshman year and Brett Versen coached during their sophomore and junior years. In his first year as the head coach of North Oldham, Koerber has brought in a new dynamic to the program. Along with different energy around the program, the seniors have still tried to keep the culture of success around as well. 

Madison Clements: “I love having this coach because I feel like she has really given us an opportunity to bond as a team. We are not as separated. We are the seniors and we are the leaders, but we are still all friends. Even though there are age gaps, we are still all friends. The starters are seniors and freshmen, but we still get along very well. I think part of that is part of coach K’s (Koerber) coaching.” 

Hannah Mosier:  “We basically tried to instill everything that has been instilled in us since day one, so showing up on time, demanding the best out of everyone and giving it your all. I think they have done a really good job adhering to everything we said.”

After losing four seniors last year, Jennifer Rebbin, Sarah Snyder, Casey Foote and Kelsey Moore, the class of 2016 wasn’t sure what to expect this year. Foote won Region Eight Player of the Year in 2015. At 22-9 and 3-0 in district play, this year’s Lady Mustangs have had plenty of success while enjoying themselves on the court. 

Brooke Hammons: “I have had a lot of fun this season. I was kind of nervous because I wasn’t sure what to think about this season with last year’s seniors having such an impact on our team. It was so much fun, we never really fought or anything like that. It was always a good time and we were always pumping each other up.”

Hannah Moiser: “Especially after losing all of the seniors from last year, we obviously set high expectations within our district and region, but I don’t think we ever thought it would turn out this well.”

Madison Clements: “There have been lots of great small memories. We are constantly laughing and having a good time as a team. We have great chemistry.”

Although the team has had plenty of fun, the group of seniors have led a driven mindset throughout the year. 

Brooke Hammons: “We worked hard every day and we had goals up on the board in the locker room, like we are going to accomplish this. It is just crazy that we are accomplishing it now.”

Madison Clements: “I think it has been the whole chemistry thing. That is so important in volleyball and you have to bond with your teammates. You have to be comfortable with each other on the court and it is shown on the court because you’re able to play together and score together.”

As a middle blocker, Clements isn’t on the floor all of the time, but whether she is around the net or the sideline, she is constantly supporting her teammates. 

Hannah Mosier: “There is a lot about her (Clements). I definitely think her positive energy. She always has a positive attitude for everything. I think that helps in situations. When you are playing a really tough team and you need that pick me up, she always does that little clap.”

Brooke Hammons: “She is so cheerful on the court, when Hannah and I were on the court for a game we were saying we need to tell Madison to get the team hyped. She is such a positive energy and she is so talented at volleyball and singing, it is really cool.”

Arguably playing the most demanding position on the floor, Mosier racks up digs and sets in motion the Lady Mustang offense by her defensive plays. 

Madison Clements: “Hannah is a huge vocal leader on the court, I can always hear her talking and that is really helpful because volleyball is a team sport. You have to be able to hear each other. She is everywhere on the court, I don’t think the ball is going to get up and she comes out of nowhere and picks it up. It is amazing.”

Brooke Hammons: “She is so good. I love Hannah, I don’t know how to explain it. She is so talented at volleyball and whenever I get down about something, she is like ‘Brooke, you got this, don’t worry about it. We can do this together as a team.’ It is really good to have a friend and a teammate like that.”

Whether she is playing alongside Mosier around the backline for defensive purposes or sending down a kill, it doesn’t take long to notice Hammons’ versatility on the floor.

Madison Clements: “I’d say Brooke is a very consistent passer. She digs balls like Hannah that I don’t think are going to get up, she just pops them up out of nowhere and her aces are phenomenal. I never thought someone would get as many aces as she has.”

Hannah Mosier: “Brooke is someone that we can always count on, no matter where she is on the court. She is always focused and has the best intentions on the court. She wants to put the ball away and she wants to win so bad it is contagious.” 

Koerber wrote the three seniors a letter which they received on senior night, but the three seniors also had a message to the underclassmen.

Madison Clements: “We had a talk the other day about how this program has the potential to continue to be good, but it is their job to make it good. They have to keep that team chemistry and keep working hard and encouraging each other and the program can continue to be great.”