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Poland gets new volleyball head coach

August 11, 2011
By Mike Capps
Stepping down after 18 years of coaching the Poland volleyball team, Fred Smith has passed the baton off to first-year teacher Caitlin O’Patchen.

A high school graduate from the class of 2007 in Austintown, O’Patchen earned her degree from Youngstown State University. Before YSU, O’Patchen went to the University of Akron for two years, where she was recruited by Akron and given a four-year scholarship to play volleyball. Unfortunately, for O’Patchen, she was injured two years into her scholarship and voluntarily came back home where she completed her degree at YSU in the spring of 2011.

This past year, O’Patchen student taught at Poland Seminary High School in language arts.

She looks forward to the challenge of building a team with good team chemistry. When asked about the talent she has, O’Patchen responded by saying, “We have good talent here and must work hard to attain good team work ethnics.”

O’Patchen continued, “There has been open gym since this past April that gave the lady athletes an opportunity to work their skills. Our first game is coming up Aug. 31 agasint Lakeview.”

Coach O’Patchen knows that Lakeview went undefeated last year and has most of their players returning this season. The Bulldogs have a big task at hand, facing Lakeview as the opening season game on the road. To make matters more interesting, O’Patchen will work at Lakeview High School as an English teacher in her first hired position as an educator.

Pressure is nothing new to O’Patchen who has witnessed the work that goes into preparing a team to represent the state as she did in 2003 as a student athlete for the Fitch Falcons and the two years she spent at Akron University. There will be many challenges that O’Patchen will face this season, but she will call on last year’s experience. Key players, senior Mackenzie Mulligan and sophomore Allison Berend will lead the way in scoring and experienced setter Kayla Smith will set the pace for the season. Raeanna Hertz, Sylvia VanSuch and Abby Jones will also be an important part of the success the Bulldogs will gain this season as well.

Article Photos

Photo by Mike Capps, Town Crier
Poland’s new head volleyball coach Caitlin O’Patchen.



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