Starting her third season at the helm of the Bethel volleyball team, Lauren Siebenaller can see the improvements. The program has struggled in the past at times, but with what the kids have done this summer has shown some promise for the future of the Bees program.

Siebenaller decided to scale back things a bit this summer with so many younger kids coming into the program; and not only have they learned and improved, but the older kids have done a good job mentoring the younger kids to get them ready for what to expect.

“This summer has been good for us so far,” Siebenaller said. “We had some practices and my assistant coach and I decided to do “Freshman 101” with this group. We have 12 freshman this year, and that is a huge number compared to the past.”

“We acclimated them and taught them the basics, plus my assistant is also a strength training coach so we were getting them to work out and had a plan for them. We knew there would probably be 1-2 freshman on varsity so they need to be ready to play with everyone else.”

She has been impressed with how well they have learned along the way, and she also credits the upperclassmen for the adjustment.

“They have impressed me how they have adjusted,” she said. “We also have incorporated team bonding this summer and the freshman have been showing up. They have been diving right in, and that is a testament to the upperclassmen to help them feel welcome.”

Summertime is always a tough time to get kids show up for a steady line of workouts, and Siebenaller knows it can become unknown how many kids will stay committed during the summer.

“Vacations are something you can’t control, you work with what you have with open gyms and workouts,” she said. “For camp we had almost everyone there. The people who are there are getting a lot of good reps. They are quick to communicate with me and let me know if they cannot be there.”

Siebenaller has seen a lot of good changes with the program over her three years, most importantly the increased number of middle school players coming through the program.

“I do know our record has been better and I was hoping to get more wins last year but we didn’t,” she said. “I have seen the improvement plus we are setting a more solid foundation. We started little Spikers (3-6 graders) because I wanted to show them the game when they are young so they want to play. We had six girls my first year and only had one team in middle school. Last year we had 20 kids with 2 teams, that is awesome and it’s blowing up. It is cool to get to started at the younger levels.”

“Building a culture is important for us. We are running a faster offense, and the Ohio Dominican U coach worked with them a lot at camp. She worked with the setters to run this offense, and since we are returning every starter except for one, and we are hoping for more improvement with what we have back.

Siebenaller is taking the varsity squad to a tourney at Kings Island this week to practice game-like situations with what they have done this summer.

Bethel has also set their scrimmages for the preseason. They are at Fairborn Aug. 8, hosts Greenon Aug. 10 at 7:00, travel to Ben Logan August 15 from 5-8 p.m., and host Ansonia Aug. 17 at 5:00.