Emrick making immediate impact with Lady Lions

CARTERVILLE — After eight successful seasons as head volleyball coach at Cobden, Nathan Emrick has a new challenge–as head coach of the Carterville Lady Lions.

Taking over a different program presents many challenges. Now imagine doing so in the middle of a pandemic.

Emrick called the first few weeks of practice that were only conditioning and had to be held outside a “good thing,” as he was able to get to know his new team without the extra challenge of dealing with masks.

The team has been practicing inside with masks for the past few weeks, giving Emrick the opportunity to evaluate his new players. The Lady Lions lost only one senior from last year’s team that won 21 matches, so there is plenty of reason for optimism. The players pointed out their new coach’s philosophy that places a great deal of emphasis on teamwork. They feel their talent plus teamwork will add up to a big season, if they get a chance to play.

Wednesday morning the team practiced, just hours before the IHSA was scheduled to announce its plans for sports in the upcoming school year. As the players cleaned up after practice, they were unsure when, or even if, there would be a next practice.

Wednesday afternoon, the IHSA announced volleyball would be moving to a spring season. That means instead of the official practice starting August 10, it will now start February 15. The season is now scheduled to open the week of March 1.