By Catherine McLean
St. Mary’s Volleyball is in store for some exciting changes in the 2018-2019 season. Read on to see what Coach Kari Duncan, current head coach, and Coach Latoya Hamilton, incoming varsity coach, have to say about what is in store.
With the 2017-2018 school year soon coming to a close, the St. Mary’s volleyball team is already planning for next season. Current varsity coach, Kari Duncan, has been coaching St. Mary’s teams since 2001 and for a collective 34 seasons between track and volleyball. She emphasizes,“I love coaching at St. Mary’s,” and explains, “a Turkey-Athlete has her feathers busy in a variety of activities throughout the year … [so] it is very rewarding when all of the girls come together hungry to get in our gym with a single goal, regardless of what they do in the off-season.”
In the fall, Coach Duncan will continue as the middle school physical education teacher, but she will be stepping down as the varsity coach. She says, “I will certainly be around the volleyball court cheering on the Turkeys as much as my new role allows … [and] even though my role will be drastically different, I am thrilled to be involved with the program next fall as the sports coordinator.”
In this time of change, St. Mary’s is excited to welcome Coach Latoya Hamilton to lead the Turkey Volleyball program as the new varsity coach. She has played volleyball for over 20 years and coached for 10 years and is excited to return to St. Mary’s where she previously was the junior varsity coach from 2015-2017. Hamilton says, “Coaching at St. Mary’s is an awesome and unique experience. The girls are so bright on and off the court, and they also truly love and support one another.” Volleyball is as much of a mental game as it is physical. With that, coaching and leadership play a significant role in the success of a team. Coach Duncan recognizes that “Coach Hamilton brings knowledge of the game and experience for motivating athletes. She knows how to demand excellence while also being supportive and caring. She is a true blessing.”
Both Duncan and Hamilton have high hopes for the upcoming season. While interviewing them, the words “new” and “exciting” kept arising as key expectations. Duncan anticipates “a new energy and enthusiasm from the coaches and the returners that will help the team succeed.” She is proud that St. Mary’s volleyball is continually growing stronger. She says “I want and expect to have a higher finish in the regions … I hope that the girls and coaches form new friendships and have a camaraderie that they hold in their hearts forever.”
Admittedly, this transfer of leadership is definitely a big change for the St. Mary’s community but Coach Hamilton plans to bring her “competitiveness” and “fearlessness” to the game and she knows the players will be up to the task. She says that “as a team, we will strive to always be our best selves no matter the circumstances … [and] every moment on the court is an opportunity to be a better player, teammate, supporter, leader, and representative of St. Mary’s.” Duncan says, “the most difficult part of stepping down is the cherished relationships that I have with current and former players.”