NEW PALESTINE — The goals will get bigger year-by-year, but with the program in its infant stages, New Palestine’s boys volleyball team just wants to get better day-by-day.

A year ago, New Palestine was a club team. This year, the Dragons and other boys volleyball programs across the state are considered emerging IHSAA sports.

Like girls wrestling in the winter season, boys volleyball takes the stage as an emerging sport this spring.

In May of last year, the IHSAA approved, unanimously, to add both girls wrestling and boys volleyball to its new Emerging Sport Process.

From the IHSAA website:

The Emerging Sport Process helps pave a way for those sports and participation to continue to grow with an eye toward eventually becoming a recognized sport and sponsorship of an official state tournament. The two sports become the first to earn the designation. By earning the designation as an emerging sport, the IHSAA will now provide rule books, conduct coaches rules meetings, and provide coverage in the IHSAA’s Catastrophic Medical program.

Both sports will now be subject to all IHSAA rules and policies, including the General Eligibility Rules. For a sport to become officially recognized and an IHSAA state tournament be sponsored, 50 percent of the membership must be participating in the sport. The IHSAA currently has 407 member schools around the state.

Currently, the Indiana Boys Volleyball Coaches Association web site lists 50 participating schools.

New Palestine is part of the IBVCA’s South Central Region. It includes, Avon, Ben Davis, Brownsburg, Cardinal Ritter, Covenant Christian, New Palestine and Roncalli, the top-ranked defending state champions.

Amy Schreiber-Roan is in her second-year as New Palestine’s head coach.

She was a standout player for the Dragons. A 1997 grad, she went on to play Division I volleyball at Mercer.

She spent much of her post-playing days coaching the sport, including collegiately at Eastern Illinois, Maine and UNC-Wilmington.

Prior to last year, her experience was coaching girls. She’s new to coaching the boys and the New Pal boys are new to playing the sport.

Last year’s team was made up completely of first-time volleyball players.

“I really tried the first year, because I wanted to develop the interest and the program, to avoid cutting kids,” coach Schreiber-Roan said. “This year, because of our numbers, we had to cut some student-athletes that wanted to play.”

There are 34 players in the program competing on ‘C’, junior varsity and varsity teams.

“Last year, every kid we had was brand new to volleyball,” coach Schreiber-Roan said. “This year, because we do have some returning players, and some of those played club in the Indianapolis area (in the off-season), we do have kids that have a full year of experience under their belt, but that’s the most experience we have on the team.”

The team won five matches a year ago, Schreiber-Roan said progress will not be based completely on wins and losses.

“We want to get better every day. I harp on the boys about that. Our goal is to get better every day and continue to play this game at a higher level, every day,” she said. “As far as wins and losses, and because it’s so new, it’s hard to quantify that. We play some programs that have been up and running, though they’ve been clubs in the past, for 20 years, and we’re playing teams that may have had a couple of guys that played, but the team or program is in its first year.

“I have higher expectations this year, absolutely, because of the experience we have. I expect to see bigger gains every week.”

Schreiber-Roan said some of her top returners are seniors Jake Cwikla and Will Hahn, sophomore Jaxon Hinkle and sophomore libero Eli Martin. The team will have a new setter this year, sophomore Kameron Engle.

The team opened the season Monday with a 3-0 loss at Covenant Christian. The first home match was Tuesday against Southport.

2023 New Palestine Boys Volleyball Schedule

Date;Opponent;Time

March 13;at Covenant Christian;L/0-3

March 14;vs. Southport;L/0-3

March 16;at Franklin;6 p.m.

March 18;at Noblesville Classic;8 a.m.

March 21;vs. Beech Grove;6 p.m.

March 23;at Westfield;5:30 p.m.

April 5;at Noblesville;6 p.m.

April 6;vs. Lawrence North;6 p.m.

April 11;vs. Martinsville;6 p.m.

April 13;at Franklin Central;6 p.m.

April 17;vs. Heritage Christian;6 p.m.

April 20;vs. Lutheran;6 p.m.

April 24;vs. Shelbyville;6 p.m.

April 26;Freshman Power League;5:30 p.m.

April 27;at Whiteland;6 p.m.

May 2;at Cardinal Ritter;7 p.m.

May 3;at Lawrence Central;6:45 p.m.

May 4;vs. Park Tudor;6 p.m.

May 6;Noblesville JV/Frosh;8 a.m.

May 6;New Pal Invite;9 a.m.

May 9;vs. Warren Central;6 p.m.

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