Covenant Volleyball Team Begins 2013 With New Coach

Thursday, August 29, 2013

New head coach. New assistant coach. New conference.

New is the word around the 2013 version of the Covenant volleyball team. First-year head coach Joanna Ehman, along with new assistant Jason Rhine, mixed with a new conference membership in the USA South make up much of the storyline for this year's Lady Scots.

Ehman takes over for Heather Taylor, who stepped down after eight seasons and 124 victories, after serving for two seasons as Taylor's top assistant and a four-year playing career as a Lady Scot.

The first-year coach also recently brought along Rhine from Trinity International University to be her full-time assistant.

The last two seasons have yielded two of the best teams in school history. Last year's squad finished 25-8 overall and a perfect 10-0 in the Great South Athletic Conference to capture the program's first conference championship since 1979. In 2011, the Lady Scots finished 22-9.

Gone are the days of the Great South Athletic Conference as Covenant was officially accepted into the USA South Athletic Conference this summer. In addition, Covenant was accepted as active members of NCAA Division III meaning eligibility for postseason competition at both the conference and national levels.

The USA South offers a step up in competition, but Ehman believes her team can compete.

"It's exciting to think about the level of competition we are going to face this season," said Ehman. "Every game in every match is going to be important, and not just for us. It's going to take a lot of focus and hard work from our girls, but I know we are in a good position to establish ourselves as strong competitors in the USA South."

USA South coaches also believe that Covenant can compete as they voted the Lady Scots to finish second in the South Division and fourth overall in the 13-team league. Only Maryville, Averett and North Carolina Wesleyan were ranked above the Lady Scots.

The key reason why both Ehman and the USA South feels that Covenant can play at a high level? Four returning starters, plus a returning libero, and incoming freshmen that could play an immediate role.

Covenant returns the reigning Great South Athletic Conference player and freshman of the year in Chelsea VanDyk. The sophomore from Manhattan, Mont., led the GSAC in several offensive categories last year. VanDyk registered 433 kills, the most for a Lady Scot since Kate Hampson's 490 in 2006, while averaging 3.77 kills per set and producing a hitting percentage of .390. VanDyk earned GSAC player of the week honors twice during the year and was also selected to the NCCAA Mid-East all-region team.

The lone senior on this year's squad is libero/defensive specialist Estes Carlson. The Eaton, Colo., native played in every set last season and tallied 501 digs (4.36 per set) to easily lead the team and the conference. Carlson was named to the GSAC all-conference team and was an NCCAA Mid-East honorable mention. Her leadership will be counted on as the Lady Scots have a roster with 10 of 12 players as either a freshman or sophomore.

Another key member of this year's squad will be junior setter Stephanie Kirkpatrick. The all-academic performer from Huntsville, Ala., showed what she was capable of last season in her first year of being the starting setter. Kirkpatrick recorded 1021 assists (8.88 per set) and had 40 or more assists in four matches, including a career-high 52 against Piedmont. Kirkpatrick was named to the GSAC all-conference team, NCCAA Mid-East all-region squad and earned academic honors from the GSAC and CoSIDA Academic All-District.

"Those returners will play an important role as we move forward," noted Ehman of VanDyk, Carlson and Kirkpatrick. "Other underclassmen will have the opportunity to take on new roles as well."

Sophomores Cora Schroeder and Hannah Rogers also return after each having a successful freshman season to solidify the rotation. The other returner from last season is sophomore Kelsey Mathis.

Ehman has brought in four freshman in Journey Amos (Houston, Texas), Caroline McLeod (Dallas, Texas), Caroline Cone (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) and Mariah Corney (Fullerton, Calif.).

"I am looking forward to seeing our freshmen class contribute this season," continued Ehman. "We are bringing in a great group of girls who are eager to work hard and establish themselves quickly in the program and I believe they have the tools necessary to make that happen."

Sophomores Jaclyn Stuart (Locust Grove, Ga.) and Anna Swain (Woodruff, S.C.) round out the 12-member varsity team this fall.

The schedule is a tough one for the Lady Scots as they have only eight home matches this season. Covenant will host a USA South quad-match on October 19 with North Carolina Wesleyan, Maryville and William Peace coming to Lookout Mountain. Covenant will play two matches that day against North Carolina Wesleyan and William Peace.

"With the combination of moving into a new conference and a significant amount of travel with this year's schedule, we definitely have our work cut out for us," Ehman added. "This team is made up of hard workers who are motivated to build on the success the program has been experiencing over the past few seasons, though, and I know we are up for the challenge."

Covenant begins its season in earnest on Saturday as they host a tri-match. Covenant will take on Oglethorpe at noon followed by an Oglethorpe-Wesleyan tilt at 2 p.m. The Lady Scots will then take on Wesleyan at 4 p.m. to complete the day.

PHOTOS: Around The Game At Arkansas-Tennessee

Lee Men Win 2-1 Over Spring Hill College

 Thanks to the head of senior captain Gabe Franco the Lee men's soccer team moved to 2-0 in the Gulf South Conference with a 2-1 victory over Spring Hill College on Sunday afternoon. Franco scored his first goal of the season in the 70th minute to put the Flames ahead for good as he connected on a header set up from Drew Jackson's cross.  All three goals were ... (click for more)

Erlanger Names Floyd Chasse As Vice-President Of Human Resources

Officials with the Erlanger Health System announce the appointment of Floyd Chasse, M.S., SPHR, as the organization’s new vice-president of Human Resources.  Mr. Chasse assumes his new position at Erlanger on Monday. Prior to his position with Erlanger, Mr. Chasse served as vice-president of Human Resources at McLaren Greater Lansing in Lansing, Mi., a university affiliated ... (click for more)

Triple Murder Suspect, Top 10 Most Wanted Fugitive, Captured In New Orleans

Less than a day after being placed on the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Top 10 Most Wanted list, Daniel Lee Henry was captured Saturday night in New Orleans, La.  Shortly after 8:30 CST, Henry, 38, was taken into custody without incident at a hotel by authorities from the United States Marshals Service Task Force, which includes law enforcement officers from the New ... (click for more)

Welcome The Bike Lanes

In just the last week, I’ve driven from North Chattanooga to downtown using North Market numerous times.  I’ve timed it and it has added no extra time to my commute.  In fact, cutting North Market down to one lane slowed folks down and made me feel safer while driving, which is actually the point of the road project. On top of that, I saw an adorable family biking ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We Want Our City Back

Late Saturday morning, there was a driving rain as I took my khakis to be hemmed by Bruce Baird, who owns a wonderful menswear store on Broad Street, and it was glaringly obvious that what the crazies among us have done with a looney bike-lane scheme is ridiculous. There are concrete barriers, reducing Broad Street to two lanes of traffic, which I believe will impede downtown businesses ... (click for more)