It might take some time to get comfortable, but Devin Womochil is ready to face the challenge of becoming a varsity head coach for the first time in 2019.
Womochil is taking over as the head volleyball coach for Colo-NESCO this fall. She arrives from Vinton-Shellsburg, where she coached with the high school club volleyball program for four years.
“I am so excited to have the privilege to not only work with the amazing staff at Colo-NESCO, but also the students and players the school has within it and their parents,” Womochil said. “I am so lucky to have Hannah Hoefer as my assistant coach. She has done an amazing job at welcoming me and teaching me the ways of the program — as well as the weightlifting staff and our athletic director, Travis Owens. I cannot wait to begin working with these athletes and getting to know more people within the community.”
Womochil inherits a program that took a step forward under Jessica Owens last season. After consecutive 5-16 campaigns, Colo-NESCO went 9-17 in Owens’ final year.
“The players within the volleyball program are already competitive, which is a nice attribute to have on any team,” Womochil said. “Most of my players compete in almost every sport. I think some of the biggest keys to coaching them to be competitive in what I want to add to the program — like defense, and the offense — will just take practice and becoming accustomed to one another.”
Colo-NESCO is currently going through its preseason camp.
“I am holding a camp this week to kickstart what I expect as a competitive year in the program so the girls know what to expect on the first day of practice,” Womochil said. “I would like to run some plays when we are on offense, and get more accurate and consistent with our serving as well.”
Having a positive attitude and the willingness to learn are high on Womochil’s list of attributes she expects out of her players.
“I am huge on respect and expect us as a team to always be respectful of coaches, the team, opponents, referees, parents — and the list goes on and on,” Womochil said. “I am passionate about helping volleyball players grow in their skills. I believe in playing hard, but also having fun throughout this whole experience together. I love volleyball and I enjoy sharing my love and knowledge with players to help them grow as athletes and human beings.”
On the court, Womochil said she may tinker with the defense and will work on hitting form and approach.
“Placement with the ball is something I am really huge on,” Womochil said. “I believe passing is the foundation to a successful volleyball team. So I will be focusing on passing a lot at the beginning of this season and throughout the entirety of the season.”
Working on what her team can control will be especially important this season.
“A challenge for me will be getting to know the tendencies of our opponents in our conference,” Womochil said. “This is my first year being a part of this conference.”
It is also her first year as a teacher. In addition to her coaching position, Womochil accepted a position teaching fifth- and sixth-grade language arts for Colo-NESCO in the spring.
“I think one of the biggest challenges for me will be managing my time as not only a first-year head coach, but also a first-year teacher,” Womochil said.
Fortunately for the Royal coach, she has some experienced players to help guide things as she adjusts to the new environment. She mentioned seniors Rylee Purvis, Megan Carlson and Gracie Kettwig as reliable leaders for the team.
Purvis had 126 digs, 81 kills and 37 aces last season. She is currently on the mend after suffering a toe injury.
“Rylee has an injury right now, but she continues to lead and do her part,” Womochil said. “She expects a lot from her teammates and I believe that is important as a leader. We are really looking forward to her coming back ready to play.”
Carlson handed out 347 assists at setter last year.
“Megan is one of the hardest workers I have seen,” Womochil said. “We went to Central camp, and she played in all of the games we competed in, the entire time, with no break. She continued to give 100-percent effort, which is a big expectation I have for my players and is something she can demonstrate and expect of her teammates.”
Kettwig accounted for 107 kills, 53 aces and 19 blocks in 2018.
“Gracie also is someone I can count on to work hard,” Womochil said. “She is very coachable, listens to what my assistant coach and I have to say and applies it to her playing. She also fights through her pain and being tired, continuing to give max effort.”
With those three leading the way, Womochil is excited for what is in store for Colo-NESCO in 2019.
“I have a great group of girls this year, who all push each other to be the best athletes they can be, all demonstrating different forms of leadership,” Womochil said. “I am lucky to have this group of girls in my first year coaching.”
Colo-NESCO opens the season Aug. 29 in a triangular at South Hamilton.