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New coach, Eastwood volleyball enjoying success PDF Print E-mail
Written by By KEVIN SHIELDS Sentinel Sports Writer   
Thursday, 08 October 2009 08:57
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Eastwood's Whitney Hoodlebrink, Courtney Rolf, and Katie Primeau celebrate a point against Genoa. (Photos: Aaron Carpenter/Sentinel-Tribune)
LUCKEY - Jeff Beck loves Eastwood volleyball and the Eagles have loved him back even more.
Beck, the former varsity coach at Perrysburg High School from 2004-07, has found a home this year with the Eagles' volleyball program and it's been a win-win situation for both involved parties.
Eastwood, 15-1, is ranked 18th in the latest Division II state poll and in position to win the Suburban Lakes League title with a perfect 11-0 record. Eastwood was 12-10 a year ago, finishing fourth in the final SLL standings.
"It's just seemed meant to be that I'm here at Eastwood," said Beck, who had been part of the Perrysburg program since 1997. "Everything just worked out perfectly. I was thinking I didn't want to coach in the NLL (Northern Lakes League) again since I'd done my time there ... wanted something smaller and near my house. I saw this job, interviewed and got it and since then it's just been amazing."
Beck inherited a young team that returned one senior - defensive specialist Katie Dewyre - but the Eagles have gotten big contributions from their younger players.
Outside hitters Whitney Hoodlebrink, a junior, and Courtney Rolf, a sophomore, lead the team in kills, while Katie Primeau is the setter.
Rolf says that Beck's belief in them as players and the new offense that he has taught them has been a big difference in the Eagles' jump to the top.
"He really pushes us hard," said sophomore outside hitter Courtney Rolf. "We run a faster offense this year and a lot more plays than we were use to. He really knew what he was doing with us."
In four seasons with the Yellow Jackets, Beck produced a 70-29 record, including a trip to the state semifinals in 2006. Perrysburg went 21-7 in 2006, losing in the semifinals to top-ranked Cincinnati Mother of Mercy in straight sets.
Beck, a teacher at Perrysburg Middle School, left the Yellow Jackets in 2007 to coach the eighth-grade team in his building and finish up his schooling
"I wanted a break and I got my Masters degree plan back on track, then once I only had a class left I got the itch again," said Beck. "I wanted to coach again and be in charge of a program and I knew (Eastwood) had an opening. So I applied and got the job."
Soon after arriving in Luckey, the new coach was surprised at how quickly the girls took him and his assistant coach, former Bowling Green State University and BGHS volleyball player, Chelsey Meek.
"They made these shirts that say 'We Buy In,'" said Beck, who played club volleyball at the University of Toledo. "I don't use that phrase and I didn't even tell them to put that on the shirt, but they say that and they believe in everything our coaching staff tells them."
So far that attitude has paid off, as the Eagles have been near perfect, with their only loss coming on Sept. 19 at Toledo Central Catholic. Included in their wins was a big home win against defending league-champion Otsego, who the Eagles beat 25-22, 22-25, 25-20, 18-25, 15-10.
"We never knew it felt like to win like this," said Hoodlebrink. "It's been an awesome season so far and we feel like we can accomplish a lot of big things."
"This is a good team here," said Beck. "They've worked really hard to be 14-1 and we were probably not expected by most coaches in the league to contend for even third-place. But we're looking at the possibility of an SLL title and I don't think anyone around thought we could do that in a six-month period."
Just three league matches remain for the Eastwood, including another showdown the Knights next Tuesday.
"Everyone is on cloud nine here," said Beck. "The girls are really excited. They're excited to come to practice and practice ends you don't see it in their faces that they want it to end. That's just opened up a big learning environment and everyone is happy to be here, which makes my job that much easier."
Last Updated on Monday, 12 October 2009 20:29
 

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