G-C volleyball under new leadership in 2022


Greenfield-Central’s Emma Berty (5) and Molly Schwarzkopf (2) block an attack by Pendleton Heights’ Mikala Ross (5) during their match at Greenfield-Central on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020.

GREENFIELD — They’re speeding up the learning curve at Greenfield-Central.

With the new head volleyball coach, Jon Vernon, hired in late July and the season starting in early August, the Cougars are picking up the pace in preparation for the 2022 season.

So far, so good.

The Cougars are off to a 1-1 start.

After a season-opening win Saturday against Waldron, they lost Monday evening at Scecina.

Players are adapting to a new coach and the coach his adapting to new players.

Greenfield-Central has just two seniors on its roster.

“We’re building even though we’re expecting to have a great year,” Vernon, who came over after a long stretch of success at Benton Central, said. “We know the experience the younger kids are getting is going to be better for us in the future.”

Middle hitter Emma Berty and Taylor Hughes, an outside hitter/setter who transferred in from Warren Central, are the only seniors.

We have two seniors and a pretty young team,” Vernon said. “I am proud of their effort of being seniors and leading the group.”

Vernon has a versatile junior in Mya Grigsby. The 5-10 hitter can do a little bit of everything. Along with being able to put the ball away, she can set hitters, too.

In the season opening win over Waldron, Grigsby had 10 kills, 14 digs and 22 assists.

The first-year coach said finding the right setter or setters for his group is still a work in progress.

Going into the the season there were as many as five players vying to be the quarterback on the floor.

G-C graduated veteran setter Morgan Hornaday, now playing Division-I volleyball at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, N.C.

Grigsby and Hughes are two of those candidates along with Hornaday’s younger sister, Allison Hornaday, a sophomore. Others in the mix are varsity veteran Makenna Rankins, another sophomore, and freshman Mia Reed.

“It may be a situation for a while where we’re trying out different kids for the setting position,” Vernon added. “We’re looking for the best fit. It may not be just one person.”

The team will have a lot of options among the front row attackers. Along with Grigsby, the Cougars have veterans Berty and sophomore Harper Holden as middle hitters.

Katie Muegge, Rilee Roland and Danica Smith are all outside and right side hitting candidates.

To get to the setters and hitters, the Cougars have been working a lot on passing drills.

Junior Finnley Greene and sophomore Avery Roberts have impressed as defensive specialists/liberos.

“The kids have been buying in,” Vernon added. “They understand that if we don’t get that first pass to our setter, it isn’t going to make a difference anyhow. We have to get the ball to the setter.”

The Cougars are back in action today with a 6 p.m. contest, at home, against Greensburg.

“We’re going one match at a time and figuring out what our best lineup will be. We want to focus on one thing at a time and see where it takes us,” the coach added. “We want to be playing our best volleyball at the end of season. There are going to be rough patches, but it’s how we respond to the rough patches and fight through the adversity.”