San Juan volleyball team ready for a fresh start in new season
by Rhett Sifford
The 2021 volleyball season was challenging for the San Juan Broncos. They lost a close friend and mentor when assistant coach Taylor Black unexpectedly passed away.
They finished the year with seven wins and 19 losses and failed to advance past the first round of the 2A state tournament.
This year represents a new start. A new head coach has taken over to lead San Juan into the future and the team returns some talented, experienced players.
The Broncos got out of the gate quickly on Thursday, August 18 with a 3-2 victory over the rival Grand County Red Devils in Moab. This Friday and Saturday, August 26-27 they travel to St. George to play in the Dixie Fly High Tournament.
New San Juan Head Coach Misty Perkins was kind enough to answer a few questions about herself, her team, and her expectations for the 2022 volleyball season as the Broncos prepare to get underway in earnest.
Rhett Sifford: First off, tell me your thoughts on becoming the volleyball coach at SJHS.
Misty Perkins: I’m super excited! I have so much love for volleyball and I’m excited to help build our program and evolve it to bigger and better things. We have a lot of talent but I feel our fundamental skills could use some tuning up.
I knew when I accepted the position as head coach that there would be a lot of work that needed to be done to continue to build a successful program. I feel with the help of my amazing coaching staff I’ll be able to do it.
RS: Describe your coaching philosophy.
MP: My philosophy in coaching is to create team unity, a strong sense of school spirit, and great life lessons that will not only help on the court but in life outside of volleyball as well.
RS: What are your thoughts about the team as you begin the season?
MP: As I mentioned before, tuning up our volleyball skills will be a big factor as we start. We did begin open gym earlier this summer and I feel a lot of the players have put in the work and have shown great improvement. They are starting to come together as a team and I feel once they settle into their positions they are going to be very dominant on the court.
RS: I know you’re new, but do you think any players have grown in their abilities since last year?
MP: From what I observed from a fan standpoint last year, I am seeing growth in every player.
RS: Again, I know it’s early, but are any players stepping up and taking leadership roles yet this season?
MP: I honestly hope all my seniors step up, especially for the benefit of the younger players and the team.
RS: Where do you expect to have strengths this year?
MP: Lots of areas, specifically with team unity and school spirit (fiery freshmen!), better fundamentals of the game, and girls playing versatile positions.
I feel a good portion of our strength is in our coaches. We are committed and work hard. We each have different personalities which brings different ideas and roles to the table.
We also have a great team with a strong drive. That combination of great coaches and a great team is what I feel will take us to region and state.
RS: In what areas might you need work?
MP: Putting more pressure on the ball. Things like placing the ball, reading the ball, and smart hitting. I also think the girls lack in being confident with themselves. When a player makes a mistake they tend to get down on themselves and get in their own heads.
We are trying to teach them to reset quickly, to get back into the game and make up for it with the next play. This will help them keep their intensity high and also have fun.
RS: What do you hope to accomplish as a team this season?
MP: There are a few things I hope to accomplish, but my first one is that I want the players to understand the importance of being a team. We are all one! I hope to instill that they need to learn to play for each other, with each other, and to trust each other on that court.
I want them to be excited for each others’ successes. We also want these girls to become stronger mentally and physically. A big part of accomplishing those is to be able to trust their coaches.