Andrews brings passion, knowledge to volleyball team

News Photo by James Andersen The 2018 Alpena High volleyball team is, from left to right: front: Aubree Sheldon, Mackenzie Precord, Alexis Pilarski, Allison Precord, Adrianna Gumtow and Katelyn Skiba; back: Rachel McDonald, Jaime Modrzynski, Emma Dockrill, Allie DeRocher, Edie Zann, Jessica Leeck and Jade Gray.

Kolby Andrews has spent the past eight years coaching volleyball in Texas, soaking up knowledge from experienced coaches and growing his passion for the game.

Armed with both passion and experience, Andrews is hoping to use both to successfully lead the Alpena High volleyball program.

Andrews spent last season coaching volleyball at Thunder Bay Junior High School and when the varsity job opened, Andrews felt it was time to put his name in for it.

“I taught here and I knew a lot of these kids. When the job came open it was something I really reflected on for awhile. I love the volleyball culture that’s in this town,” Andrews said. “I feel like I have some experience and skills to bring to the program and when the opening was there, I felt the need to put my name in for it.”

As Andrews starts his tenure as Alpena’s coach, he’s got an athletic mix of veterans and newcomers to work with. Alpena returns eight players from last season and the five newcomers all played together on Alpena’s JV team last year.

“It’s a situation where we’re going to get better this year, we’re going to learn some things this year and I’m kind of leaning on those veterans to bring the young kids along,” Andrews said.

Alpena’s returners include senior outside hitters Jaime Modrzynski and Adrianna Gumtow, junior outside hitter Rachel McDonald, junior outside hitter Emma Dockrill, senior setter Allison Precord, junior middle hitter Edie Zann and senior middle hitter Jessica Leeck. On defense, senior libero Alexis Pilarski returns as well.

The Wildcats’ newcomers include junior defensive specialists Aubree Sheldon and Mackenzie Precord, sophomore middle hitter Allie DeRocher and sophomore outside hitters Kate Skiba and Jade Gray.

With Precord’s experience in the front row, Gumtow, Gray and Skiba have been among those leading Alpena offensively.

Alpena’s mix of young and returning talent has looked good so far. The Wildcats opened the season with five straight wins and showed fight in their Big North Conference opener, a loss to Traverse City Central. Alpena rebounded on Wednesday to sweep Gaylord to even their conference mark.

“It’s great for the program. It’s a situation where everybody loves it when you’re winning,” Andrews said. “We played some great teams, but now we’re in conference. Our conference has many many strong volleyball teams in it.”

Andrews is no stranger to success. During eight years coaching in Texas, he coached at Arp Hill School and Chapel Hill High School, two schools who had success in state tournaments and regularly finished near the top of their respective conferences.

Now he’s ready to lead the Wildcats and says players have bought into his teachings as their new coach.

“We’ve got great athletes. We’ve got kids who hit the ball hard. They jump high,” Andrews said. “The veterans and the young kids, they’ve bought into the fact that I’m their biggest cheerleader and I’m here to support them.”