Boyle volleyball uses timeouts as bonding time
Published 10:52 am Thursday, September 21, 2023
By MIKE MARSEE
Timeouts are a time for the Boyle County volleyball players to work some things out amongst themselves.
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Coaches typically take charge of most of the in-game breaks in most team sports, but Boyle coach Eric Kenoyer lets his players do most of the talking during their timeouts.
It’s one of several things that is working well for the Lady Rebels, who have taken up residence in the top tier of the 12th Region.
They defeated Danville in straight sets Tuesday night to win for the 14th time in 16 matches against regional opponents and improve to 10-0 against 45th District foes entering the homestretch of the regular season.
“I think we’re doing pretty well,” Boyle junior Kendra Christopher said. “I think this year we’re a lot stronger.”
Of course, Boyle (17-9) is winning primarily because of what happens between the timeouts, but Kenoyer said the changes in its timeout routine are an indication of Kenoyer’s trust in his players and their determination to improve themselves.
“We have great leaders, and they often see things that I don’t,” Kenoyer said. “We started early in the season giving the first half of the timeout to them to make their own adjustments, and then I come in with my feedback, but they’re usually on point with what they need to do.”
On Tuesday, Kenoyer didn’t enter the huddle until 15 seconds or less remained in the 60-second breaks. Meanwhile, the players were staying loose while still keeping their focus on the match.
“We all love each other and we like to make each other laugh, make sure that we’re all having fun as we play, because that’s really important to make sure that we know that it’s just volleyball,” Boyle senior Camryn Thompson said. “The bench really comes in and tells us spots that are open and things that we can improve on, but we all come together and make sure that everybody’s OK and everybody’s laughing and having fun.”
Kenoyer said he doesn’t mess with that formula even when a match isn’t going well.
“Actually, it works better when I’m out of the huddle,” he said. “They do a nice job of course correcting themselves. It gives me a chance to check in with my assistant coaches to see what they’re seeing and then come in and give good feedback versus reactionary feedback.”
“It’s something new that we started not too long ago and it’s working well for us,” Christopher added.
Boyle remains a young team even after losing only two seniors last season, and Thompson said it is a cohesive team as well.
“We are very young, but I think that our team dynamic is a lot stronger this year and we have a lot of athletes this year that are willing to lay their body on the floor to pick everything up they can,” she said. “We’ve played together for so long, I think we play better in those harder games that we’re not supposed to win because we want to prove that we can.”
Boyle’s 25-20, 25-16, 25-15 victory Tuesday was its second over Danville this season and its eighth straight over the Lady Admirals.
The Lady Rebels are ranked No. 4 in the 12th Region in the most recent coaches’ poll and are headed toward a second straight 20-win season after reaching that mark last year for the first time since 2015.
“I think that our program is definitely elevating, and as we’re playing throughout the season I think we keep getting better and better each game,” Thompson said. “Every time we lose we come together as a team and we want to prove in practice that we want to get better.”
Danville (3-12) is working to get better as well, though the results haven’t been what the Lady Admirals would like. They are even younger than Boyle – middle-schoolers make up a large part of the freshman and junior varsity teams – and they haven’t approached last year’s win total, but second-year coach Kayleigh Hunstad is trying to bring long-term stability to the program and said things are headed in the right direction.
“Our younger girls are making incredible progress,” Hunstad said. “We just need some time.”
Hunstad said the team’s younger players seem to have a grasp of that, and she’s hoping older players don’t get discouraged in the short term. She also said she has seen improvement this season, even if that hasn’t been reflected in the win column.
“We are definitely more aggressive at the net compared to where we started (the season),” she said. “We’re hitting a lot more and utilizing free balls and easy plays to score points.”