Owls prepare for season of change

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PRESQUE ISLE, Me (WAGM) - A new coach and playing in a conference headline the UMPI volleyball season. Jonathon Bowman takes over for Mark Kornachuk and has enjoyed working with his new roster.

"Abby Jewett is a good outside hitter. Hannah Williams is becoming a hitter instead of setting this year. Then I have a couple of freshman that are pretty good, like Laura Aroz is probably going to be the setter," Bowman said.

Bowman previously coached at the United States Youth Volleyball League in Long Beach, California and his players respected his credentials.

"I like that he has a lot of experience. He's had 20 years of volleyball coaching so he knows his stuff. It's a different pace of volleyball than what Mark Kornachuk did, miss him still. But Jon's doing what he can do here," senior Abby Jewett said.

Also new this year the Owls are playing in the North Atlantic Conference, ditching their independent status. Bowman is eager to have the chance to play postseason volleyball.

"Basically the top six of eight will make the playoffs, we should be there. Hopefully if we play well and no one gets injured we should have a chance to go to the playoffs this year which will be good. That'll extend our season into November," Bowman explained.

Injuries have been a problem for the Owls early on along with a small number players to begin with. Bowman hopes to add more depth next year, but feels the players are making the most of their chances to play.

"I only had nine players, we had one injured. So they got a ton of playing time, all the players got better. Although they got tired, they got better with every match. They played very scrappy and with a lot of heart, they were flying all over the court. Even though we don't have many players it was a good beginning," Bowman said.

Outside hitter Abby Jewett is hoping the team can improve upon last years four wins and is focusing on making sure that the young players are all on the same page when they step on the court. Jewett is the lone senior on the team.

"I feel old. I don't know it's different. I feel like there's a lot I'm able to teach them for their upcoming years. A lot for them to expect and then to pass onto Jon who's the new coach. It's different, but I'm glad to still have Hannah on the team as a returner as well," Jewett explained.