Volleyball season opens with new faces at the top

When tryouts for the volleyball team began, no one expected anything atypical. However, those expectations were not met when the team was announced, and four of five rising seniors did not make it. 

After an uproar among stakeholders ensued, Coach Alan Kofroth parted ways with the program, School Board documents show.

His departure left a tricky situation for the seniors who had been cut, as they had no one from whom they could seek an explanation.

“I really have no idea (why he cut us) because he handed in his resignation before we could ask him," one of the cut players, senior Sami Smucker, says.

Although the new coach allowed the four seniors to tryout again, none of the four chose to do so.

"At the meeting (held by school administration for players and their parents), the parents weren't happy (that seniors would be allowed to tryout again) and seemed to think we were throwing tantrums ... this couldn't be further from the truth," says Smucker. "So because of the way they were treating us, we didn't want to go back out for it and have a miserable season."

Absent an explanation from Kofroth, players were left to speculate as to why four seniors were cut.

“The girls are getting involved at a younger age and they are more passionate and serious about the sport," says Allyson Dull, the only senior currently on the team. 

“The younger girls are really strong players that love the sport and dedicate way more time," Danielle Lehman, another of the cut players, says in concurrence.

Those younger players will be forced to step up and provide leadership as the team moves forward, a process Dull says is already in motion.

“After the seniors got cut, the team focused on getting through the tough time. Some of the juniors have stepped up to add more leadership to the team," she says.

Kofroth previously coached at Conestoga Valley, and has among the most wins of any coach in the history of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. However, his tenure at CV also appears to have ended on less than amiable terms. After the 2007 season, his contract was not renewed for undisclosed reasons.

“It’s not like a regular job where they have to explain your dismissal," he told LNP in 2008.

Kofroth was an assistant coach for the boys' team at Manheim Central in 2008 before taking over as the head coach at L-S in 2009,

The District's athletic department staff directory does not list a head volleyball coach as of publication, but LNP reports that Julie Hoin is in the position.

Ms. Branden Lippy, athletic director at L-S, declined to comment on the situation.

With controversy marking the offseason for the Lady Pioneers, it will be interesting to see what happens on the court when they have their first regular season home game this Thursday at home against Columbia.

For their part, the cut seniors wish the team well.

"We're happy for the ones that made it," says Smucker, "but it was extremely unfair ... to cut the majority of the seniors when we did all that he asked of us."

--Luke Raum, LSNews.org Volleyball Reporter

Edited: BP

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