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Prep volleyball: Catholic moves forward with co-head coaches

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston Catholic co-head volleyball coach Kristin Call has her hands full.

Not only did she take over the Irish as the season was about to begin, Call is the assistant general manager of marketing for the West Virginia Power as well.

Working for a minor league baseball organization full time often means spending half the day at the ballpark, but adding on her new responsibilities with the Catholic volleyball team certainly makes things tougher on Call.

Call, along with fellow co-coach Angela Beblo, are technically the third and fourth coach this season that the Irish, one of the top programs in the state, has had this year alone.

Lindsay Kuncher resigned as head coach long before the season was set to begin and Leisha Salyer was hired to take over on June 1. However, she accepted a position at West Virginia State University soon thereafter, causing her to leave the post as well.

Enter Call, an assistant coach for the Catholic volleyball team since 2006, along with Beblo, who also has been with the Irish for several years. Both were involved in the state titles Catholic won in 2009 and 2010.

"Leisha had come in but her situation changed, which didn't allow her to keep the coaching position," Call said. "It was about a month ago close to the start of the season, and now Angela Beblo and myself are now the co-head coaches."

Call admitted the time constraints have been tough, especially with her full-time position with the Power.

"It's difficult, I'm not going to lie," Call said. "It's a lot of time management and a lot of teamwork with Angela. The issue was the time commitment with both our jobs. It's a little bit tough to commit fully to that. To be able to do it together has helped. It's been collective effort to make it happen."

Call indicated her and Beblo being involved with the team for years has made the transition smoother.

"It absolutely helps having a history with the school and knowing the staff and the AD (athletic director Bill Gillispie)," Call said. "It's great knowing some of the players that have been there a few years now. It makes things a lot easier."

Gina Marks and Sierra Portillo will be counted on heavily, being the team's only two seniors. The Irish don't have any juniors, leaving sophomores and freshmen to fill the rest of the roster.

Catholic opens its season on Tuesday in a tri-match at Greater Beckley Christian against the hosts and Nicholas County.

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WHILE CATHOLIC has recent experience winning volleyball titles, George Washington does as well. The Patriots are the defending Class AAA state champions from a year ago under coach Missy Smith.

Smith knows the bull's-eye will clearly be with her Patriots, despite GW losing nine of its top 12 players to graduation, including State Player of the Year Hannah Shreve, who is playing at West Virginia University.

"We have always felt like we have a target on us, but now that we are the defending state champion, we know teams are coming after us," Smith said. "To graduate nine players, teams think they can get us."

Smith still feels that GW can still make some noise this season.

"We are looking to defend our title to the best of our abilities," Smith said. "We are fortunate that it is feasible year in and year. It is a lot of pressure but a lot of pride as well. The girls have been putting the time in to get their shot. They haven't been handed anything."

Smith believes the program is still in good shape.

"We always put a lot of emphasis on our JV (junior varsity) program," Smith said. "They only lost four matches last year. They are used to playing and winning. I think we have done a good job of establishing who we want to be. Anybody who comes into our program knows we have high expectations."

Smith and the Patriots will look to defend their title when they open their season on Saturday at the Woodrow Wilson Tournament. The event has 10 teams and GW will start against Greenbrier East.

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IN CLASS AA, the Herbert Hoover volleyball program will be looking to continue its wining ways as well. The Huskies have made the State Tournament the past three seasons under coach Anita King.

Hoover makes the trek up to north this Saturday to participate in the Morgantown Tournament.


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