By DAVE HANNEMAN
Brittney Bills remembers hoisting more than a league championship trophy or two during her volleyball career at Findlay High School.
Now she’d like to do it again as the Trojans head coach.
Bills was an all-conference selection during Findlay High’s dominating run through the Greater Buckeye Conference. During the school’s eight-year stint in the GBC, the Trojans went 80-0 in league matches, 162-34 overall and made four appearances in the regional tournament.
The Three Rivers Athletic Conference has been another level of competition, though.
Toledo St. Ursula has dominated the TRAC like Findlay once owned the GBC, going 42-0 in league matches since the conference kicked off with the 2011-12 school year. The Arrows have been to the state Final Four six of the past seven seasons, but they are not the defending league champions because Toledo Notre Dame knocked them in the finals of last year’s TRAC tournament.
“St. Ursula and Notre Dame are suspected to pose the biggest threat to the Lady Trojans throughout the regular season,” Bills said in a prepared statement for the 2017 season.
“However, with the team chemistry and work ethic the team possesses this year, it is sure to be a suspenseful and exciting season full of close matches and tight rankings.”
Findlay graduated eight players from a team that went 10-14 overall and finished fifth (2-5) in the TRAC. Key losses included District 8 Division I-II-III Player of the Year and second-team all-league standout Claudia Morman and honorable mention all-TRAC setter Lindsay Geiser. Morman, a 5-foot-6 libero, led the Trojans with 621 digs, including a school single-match record 67 in a four-set win over Toledo Whitmer. She also had a team-high 385 serve receptions.
Bills replaces Bob Moran as the Trojans head coach. Moran, who has taken the head coaching spot at McComb, was 109-63 in seven seasons at Findlay High and owns a 288-151 career record that includes stops at Leipsic and Fostoria as well.
It should be a smooth transition for Bills, though. A four-year letter winner for the University of Charleston volleyball team, Bills was also an assistant coach at Wheeling Jesuit University before returning to Findlay and serving as the junior varsity coach and a varsity assistant for Moran.
Seniors Amy Feczer, Grace Ramsey, Brittney Haas, Lauren Hackenburg and Olivia Baxter and junior veteran Grace Blatnik are returning letter winners for a Findlay team Bills feels will be solid on the receiving end of the play and strong at the net.
“The defense on that (2016) team was established and had been rolling for two or three years,” Bills commented. “But looking at the offensive side, we are returning some of the same core players at the net.”
Blatnik, a 5-5 setter, has been a mainstay in the Trojans lineup since her freshman year. Feczer was an honorable mention all-league pick last season and, at 5-11, will team with the 6-foot Haas as an impressive blocker on the front line.
Hackenburg is also a setter, Baxter will handle an outside hitter’s spot and Ramsey will step into Morman’s role as libero.
“With the graduation of (Morman), that leaves a great opportunity for our new defense to craft their identities,” Bills commented.
Bills will also be counting on seniors Maddie Parker (5-8, OH), Nadia Schwab (5-4, DS), Kayla Canterbury (5-3, L/DS) and Amber Meisner (5-4, DS), junior Elle Price (5-8, S/DS) and freshman Sammy Vance (5-9, OH).
By DAVE HANNEMAN