North Shore Volleyball: New Coach Learning Along With Team
In her first year as the head coach, Kelly Keporos is developing program and chemistry.
North Shore Country Day volleyball coach Kelly Keporos knew coming into the season that this would be a rebuilding year of sorts.
The Raiders were young--returning only one starter from last year’s team--and coming off a season in which they came within one game of a regional championship appearance. There was going to be a lot of learning.
And the person with the most to catch up on was Keporos. The former Northwestern University volleyball player took over the varsity head coaching job this season after helping out at North Shore a couple years ago.
“I’m still learning, looking back on things I liked and didn’t like with my past coaches and bringing those characteristics that I liked out in my coaching,” said Keporos, who teaches in North Shore’s Lower School. “My first year as head coach, I’m definitely still learning.”
While Keporos had some coaching experience running Northwestern’s summer volleyball camps and working with local club teams, the North Shore gig was her first head coaching job at the high school level. She acknowledges that she’s still trying to find her coaching identity.
But little by little she’s finding her niche.
“I like to get to know the kids and build that relationship with each individual,” Keporos said. “I think it’s important because each one learns differently and likes to be coached differently. That was important to really develop a relationship with them at first.”
Early on Keporos has put in a lot of team-building exercises with the Raiders, trying to develop chemistry between athletes who haven’t played together beforehand. Most of the team played on the junior varsity squad last season, so getting them to compete at a higher level was also an immediate challenge.
While North Shore has taken its lumps early in the season, Keporos has been happy with the progress her team has made halfway through the schedule. Senior Katherine Simmons has stepped into the setter role, and Keporos says the squad is playing “good volleyball” on a more consistent basis.
“I’ve been really pleased with the strides we’ve been taking,” Keporos said. “I don’t think the wins and losses matter as much with such a young team. We’ve been improving every practice.”