A longtime fixture in the volleyball programs at Belleville East, Joe Nesbit returns the sidelines this spring as coach of the Lancers boys team.
And while Nesbit, who helped start the boys volleyball program and was the Lancers head coach in 2009-10, has continued to coach at the underclass level at East, he knows that there is more involved to leading a varsity program than just the on-the-court duties.
“Coaching is not like riding a bike and while I have been the junior-varsity coach for the last two years, I had quickly forgotten about all of the other things — like paper work, checking on grades and just being organized — which goes into being a head varsity coach,” Nesbit said. “(Former) coach Stefanie Gaubatz has been a tremendous help in remaining me of everything that needs to get done.”
The Lancers were 13-13 a year ago under Gaubatz and feature a roster with seven seniors, any of who have been in the starting lineup the past two years. East opened its season with a win over Gibault last week.
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Seniors Logan Williams, Braden Shelley, Rico Walker, Andrew O’Bryan and Peter Bergt all have been key contributors in the past.
“We have a lot of seniors who have played a lot of volleyball together. This is their year,” Nesbit said. “I worked with these kids a couple of years ago when Stefanie (Gaubatz) was on maternity leave and I know what they can do.
The Lancers hitting attack is led by Shelley, TJ White, Walker and Walker, but one of the keys will be the play of Williams at the libero position.
“He’s a great player,” Nesbit said of Williams. “Peter (Bergt) is our setter and a player we’re looking at to be one of our leaders. They are both seniors and they kn ow what needs to be done.’’
Senior Frank Vollmer along with juniors Karson Vaughn, Max DiPasquale and Kobe Patton will all see playing time. Junior Zach Jablonski is another player Nesbit hopes will play multiple positions on the court.
“We have a lot of hitters both in the middle and on the right side who have loged a lot of playing time here at Belleville East. We just need to be consistent with our attack,” Nesbit said. “I like what I see but I don’t think any coach is ever 100 percent satisfied. We have a lot of work to do and the boys have a great attitude. We certainly don’t want to be playing our best in the third week of March, Hopefully, we’ll build and peak in late May.”