October 30, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
48°F

Volleyball: Walsh University standout to coach Bucks

YORK TWP. — Brittany Morris’ playing career was a resounding success. She hopes the same can be said about her transition from the court to the bench.

The former Parma Padua High and Walsh University standout has been hired as Buckeye’s volleyball coach, taking over the program from Craig Peterson. She also will teach in the school district.

“I’m super excited about this opportunity because everything came together so quickly,” Morris said. “The day after I graduated from Walsh, I had my first interview, then things took off from there.

“I know that Buckeye has been one of the top teams in the (Patriot Athletic Conference). My goal is to keep that success going — and take it to the next level.”

The 5-foot-11 middle blocker was a four-year starter at Walsh, amassing 930 kills in 439 career sets. She averaged more than 2.0 kills per set as a freshman, junior and senior.

Morris earned All-American Mideast Conference second-team honors in 2010 before the Cavaliers shifted their membership from the NAIA to NCAA Division II.

The North Royalton resident previously earned three letters at Padua, helping the Bruins win the 2008 Division II state championship.

“I’ve been surrounded by volleyball my entire life, but I’ll never stop learning about the game,” said Morris, who was an education major at Walsh. “I still love it, and it’s helped me learn so much about how to work with other people.

“I also know what it takes to compete at a pretty high level, which I hope to use to make the girls better players.”

Morris spent the summer as an assistant coach at Maverick Volleyball Club, working with their 15 Elite team that included All-Gazette hitter Ally Badowski of Brunswick and Madison Shearer of Highland.

She also has strong Medina County ties on her coaching staff with the Bucks, retaining the services of Erin Conroy, Steve Borgis and Janeen Calame.

“Because we don’t know if we have the numbers for a freshman team, I’m not sure who will be coaching at each level, but they will all be here, along with another assistant who is moving in from Boston,” Morris said.

“But I can tell you that we’re going to run a quicker offense because we have the talent to do it. With (All-Gazette setter) Katie Galaszewski, and our senior and junior hitters, there is a lot of potential there.”

In order to help Buckeye realize its potential, Morris also has beefed up its non-league schedule by adding Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph and dropping several Lorain County foes.

The Bucks are 89-21 all-time in the Patriot Athletic Conference, never finishing lower than fourth in eight seasons. Since more than half of their matches each year are essentially “gimmes,” they have not paid benefits come tournament time.

“It’s better to play very good teams, even if you lose, because you don’t gain anything from beating teams 25-5 all the time,” Morris said. “That’s why we’re playing Brunswick and Medina and other bigger schools. We want to be as good as they are now.”

Peterson posted a 25-21 record in two seasons, including 14-9 last fall, despite taking over a rebuilding squad with major chemistry issues.

Buckeye athletic director Glen Reisner called his departure “a mutual agreement,” but Peterson said, “I would have liked to return. We definitely had the program going in the right direction with a lot of good talent coming back.”

Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.