Doane’s Volleyball and Softball teams are looking to build off of underwhelming seasons with the hiring of new head coaches.
The Volleyball team will be led by Coach Jenna Jones, while the Softball team will be taken over by Coach Jordan Olson.
The Volleyball team went 17-13 overall last season, going eight to eight in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC).
Jones was previously an assistant coach at Nebraska Wesleyan, where she spent the last three years in the program. When asked about why she chose Doane, it was a combination of many things, including a similar skill level, the ability to keep her family in the same place and the hospitality of Doane’s staff.
“Both communities have been supportive and very nice as far as working with me and things like that. As far as Volleyball, it’s a pretty similar level of volleyball, so I thought it was an easy transition as far as who I’m working with,” Jones said.
Jones wants to turn her team into competitors, which she believes will make them a better team.
“Overall, as far as the team and the success of it, we want to compete. We want to be playing good volleyball and we want to be competing with some of the top teams in our conference,” Jones said.
Olson was previously the head softball coach at Davis & Elkins College, a Division II school in West Virginia. Prior to that, Olson was the Graduate Assistant coach at Doane from 2013 until 2016.
Olson said she enjoyed her time at Davis and Elkins but felt that Doane was still her home.
“Doane feels like home. The administration is welcoming, the facilities are amazing and it just feels right to be back here,” Olson said.
She is looking to improve on the 7-15 overall record the team had prior to the cancellation of spring sports.
“My biggest goal for the fall as their new leader is to get them all on the same
page and make a smooth transition while implementing my system. This is going
to start with our culture and developing a good line of communication and consistency,” Olson said.
Olson also cited the struggle that the team had in finishing games and getting those close wins. She said she believes that if the team is on the same page, they can turn some of those losses into wins.
“I want to build on the things that they did well, not trying to change too much, but also want to help implement an efficient system that will allow them to finish games with a W,” Olson said.
When looking at the impact of COVID-19 on her upcoming season, Jones said it benefits her to be a new coach in this situation.
“It almost benefits me because a lot of other coaches are new to this thing as well, so it’s not just me getting dumped on. Everybody else around me is having to relearn things as well, so that’s helped as far as learning everything,” Jones said.
Both coaches emphasized the importance of keeping their teams and themselves safe through social distancing with masks.
“It’s a lot of trust and a lot of reminding. We have to tell our girls to wear a mask, sanitize and be smart. We know that they want to have that college normalcy by hanging out with friends and eating in the lunchroom but at the same time, what you do doesn’t just affect you. It affects the whole team, the coaches and any other schools we’re trying to play,” Jones said.
“Being that I am new to the roster of 32 it is crucial that as a coaching staff, we find innovative ways to practice social distance and keep our athletes safe but also put them in situations to learn and develop in practice,” Olson said.
Despite the ever-present threat of COVID-19 bringing a halt to all practices and games, both coaches are confident in their teams’ abilities to stay safe and look out for each other.
Volleyball will begin their season on September 5th at home against Morningside, while Softball will be waiting until the spring to begin competition.