The Goshen College men’s volleyball team will debut their season under new leadership this weekend.After the resignation of previous head coach Lauren Ford in early January, the team is now under the direction of new interim coaches. Jewel Lehman is filling the head coaching position this season, and she is joined by assistant coaches Val Hershberger and Andy Bennett.
Lehman is the department chair of the kinesiology department and has experience coaching at the collegiate level.
From 2004 to 2008, she led the GC women’s volleyball team to success, with a winning record in three of the five seasons she coached. She also coached at Campbell University, a Division-I college, for four seasons. Lehman had a winning record of 69-64 throughout her coaching career at Campbell, including a 32-7 mark in her final year.
“I am excited about being a part of the team’s success this season, getting to see wins on the court and [their] development as young men,” Lehman said.
Hershberger, an associate professor in the kinesiology department, also has considerable coaching experience. She served as GC’s women’s volleyball coach from 1996 to 2000. Throughout her four seasons, she accumulated 58 wins.
Coach Ford is leaving Goshen College with a recent school record on her back, having accumulated 20 wins last season. Lehman’s primary focus this season is ensuring the Leafs stay at their peak.
“The most important role I can play in this new situation is to make sure the program continues to be successful, as it has been the last several years,” Lehman said. “This team is unified, focused, hardworking and talented. Facilitating their success is the main goal at this time.”
In addition to Lehman and Hershberger’s coaching expertise, fifth-year player Andy Bennett will play a crucial role on this year’s team, both as a player and as an interim assistant coach.
Bennet is a middle hitter for the Leafs and leads the program in several categories. Over the course of his career at GC, he has had 280 block assists and 324 total blocks over 103 matches. Despite losing some key players last season, he believes the team is still highly capable of being competitive this season.
“Most of the guys are seasoned veterans in college volleyball,” Bennett said. “It will be exciting to see how we can utilize all of our experiences throughout the season.”
This season, the players will face a conference-heavy schedule. Bennett noted that because of this, each match would be exceedingly important.
“Each one makes a difference in regards to making it into postseason play, so we know every game is going to be a fight,” Bennett said. “We are grateful to have an amazing home crowd each season, so I know the guys will look forward to those matches.”
The men’s volleyball team will compete in a scrimmage against Calumet College of St. Joseph on Saturday in Whiting, Indiana. You can stay up-to-date with the latest scores and news at goleafs.net.