To say Emily Wahlers is experienced when it comes to coaching volleyball may be a big understatement.
Wahlers will be entering her first season with Saxony Lutheran this fall, but she has been around volleyball her entire adult life as she has coached 23 seasons overall.
“I’ve coached clubs, I’ve coached schools, and just about everything in between,” Wahlers said. “I’ve been coaching quite a long time.”
Wahlers last spent time at Meadow Heights for one year before finding a home at Saxony Lutheran. She will replace Mark Moore at the helm after one season.
“I saw that Saxony was needing a volleyball coach and I didn’t have a job at the time,” Wahlers said. “I thought I was too late and that had the job filled already, but luckily for me I called and it wasn’t filled yet and I applied and here I am.”
To be associated with a sport for so long, a person has to be passionate about it and that sort of passion jumps off of Wahlers.
“I just love how volleyball can be so detailed at times and then sometimes it’s just pass, set, and hit,” Wahlers said. “You can put the ball into a spot with a very skilled roll shot, or you can a kill by hitting the ball as hard as you can. Volleyball is a very complex game and dynamic in the different plays you can run.”
Wahlers has always known about the good volleyball reputation at Saxony, and has even had some family members attend the school in the past. So the school has always been in the back of her mind as a good school to coach.
“I’m friends with some of the coaches who used to be here,” Wahlers said. “So I’ve always known about the school and what the volleyball program means here. This is my opportunity to coach here and I’m so excited.”
That familiarity with the school has made the transitioin to the position much easier on Wahlers.
“It certainly has been easier for me to step in here,” Wahlers said. “Coach Sides was one of my P.E teachers growing up, so I’ve known him for a long time. Having that connection made it not as scary of a move as I’ve had in the past.”
Wahlers has started implementing her system in late May with a combination of open gyms and summer tournaments.
“This is a great group of girls, who work hard, and are athletic, and love the sport as much as I do,” Wahlers said. “They want to work hard and do the best they can and so far, I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
Wahlers has been focusing mostly on working the play and finding the holes to exploit the defense.
“We want to be better at finding those holes and wherever the defense isn’t and hitting it there,” Wahlers said. “I know that’s pretty simple.”
Saxony returns three seniors and one junior from last year and Makayla Mueller will be the libero, while Olivia Spanley and Clara Yokley will lead the front row,” Wahlers said. “I really have a good outlook on this season and my expectations are high with the experience we have coming back.”
Wahlers noted that she will have several quality sophomores and Abbi Thomason will fill in as a defensive specialist for a team that Wahlers said fits together well.
“This team is really close and there’s plenty of camaraderie,” Wahlers said. “If there is something that goes worng or not how they like it, they are constantly building each other up.”
Saxony was eliminated in the district championship in three games by Bloomfield in the Class 2, District 2 tournament, Wahlers was not shy with her lofty goals for the upcoming season.
“I think we have a good chance of taking that this year,” Wahlers said.
“With everything coming in and the experience we have coming back, we have just as good a chance as anybody to win the district this year.”