Jeeps returning lots of volleyball talent

Herald File Photo
Northeast Dubois senior Mia Smith has played libero in the past, but new coach Leigh-Ann Brosmer is looking to do without a libero in 2020 and use Smith as a setter.


DUBOIS — Northeast Dubois made it to the championship game of the 2019 Springs Valley volleyball sectional, losing to the host Blackhawks, 3-1, and finishing their season at 17-9.

The Jeeps graduated some All-Blue Chip Conference selections in Chloe Terwiske, who set the record for the most career assists with 1,776, and also Taylor Dodd, who led the Jeeps with 374 kills as a senior.

Still, much of that 2019 sectional runner-up team is coming back, and new coach Leigh-Ann Brosmer likes what she sees from this group.

“There’s a lot of talent there,” Brosmer said. “So, with all that talent, I look for them to go pretty far — winning a sectional, getting to the regional and having that mindset that they can go as far as they want to go. All of them but two are coming back. So, there’s a lot of good hitters, and we’ve got our setters, and they’re really great.”

The 2005 Northeast Dubois graduate and former player for the Jeeps and Oakland City University said this is a fun team that is always cracking jokes, but added their work ethic and mental toughness, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, are both a 9.

She pointed to the four seniors the Jeeps have this season: Mia Smith, Kayleigh VanPelt, Payton Bowles and Rebecca Brosmer. Leigh-Ann likes the willingness the four of them show to help the underclassmen if the coaching staff is preoccupied with other matters.

The seniors figure to play a big role on the court as well. Smith played libero last year, but she'll be looked to set some this year, as will junior Chante Miller. The first-year coach likes how both of them have soft hands, which is what she looks for in a setter.

VanPelt may also sometimes be asked to set for the team, as they're going with one setter in the back row.

“My JV coach (Jennifer Kluesner, her sister-in-law) and I, we’ve been talking, and we’re not 100 percent sure if we’re going to use a libero this year,” she said. “We have a lot of hitters on the team, and I feel like if we take one of those hitters out of the back row, that takes away from them being able to get a kill for us.”

The Jeeps may have lost Dodd to graduation, but they have different options they can look toward to get kills on the offensive end. The coach told the Herald that the team wants three strong hitters in the front for every rotation.

“They’re all great hitters, but if I had to pick a couple, (junior) Hadley Fuhrman for sure, (sophomore) Reagan Knies, (sophomore) Rhylan Kalb,” Leigh-Ann said. “So far, they’ve shown me that they’re powerful hitters — even Kayleigh (VanPelt) — she’s shown me a lot so far in the three weeks that we’ve been working.”

One freshman who could work her way into the lineup in 2020 is Averi Bauer, who may be a ninth-grader, but Leigh-Ann hasn’t seen it. She likes Bauer’s athletic ability and has a feeling Bauer will find her way to varsity, even potentially getting some minutes and some starts in 2020. Leigh-Ann is looking to plug Bauer into every spot on the front row.

“My goal is to get every hitter into every spot — that way, they are comfortable,” she said.

Leigh-Ann was unsure at this point which offense and defense Northeast Dubois, but reiterated doing away with the libero and going with two setters. She added everybody has to be able to move and play every spot.

She would like to see her team work more on serving because they’ve had a lot of missed serves to this point, but she isn’t too worried about that because it’s been during open gym. Leigh Ann added the Jeeps will make sure to both improve their serving and placing the ball in the zone on serves.

Those are the things Northeast Dubois will have to clean up by the time it is scheduled to begin its 2020 season at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 17 at home against Blue Chip foe Wood Memorial. Leigh-Ann believes her team has to have a positive mindset that they will win. She said everybody has to do the right things of constantly talking and moving their feet to make it happen.

The Jeeps are not scrimmaging anybody this year, but Leigh-Ann does not think this will negatively affect them.

“With me being a college athlete and playing volleyball, they’ve received some of my serves and some of my hitting, and I hit pretty hard still at my age,” Leigh-Ann said. “So, they should be fine with us coaches serving to them and hitting at them. So, I think we’ll be fine.”

More on