LEHMAN TWP. – The first priority was clear for Jim Hummer in his new coaching assignment with the Lake-Lehman boys volleyball team.
“The last two years, they’ve had low numbers,” Hummer said of a program that finished the 2013-14 season with just seven players and went through last season with less than a dozen. “ … Recruiting was a big thing this year.”
Hummer has those numbers up to 21 already, enough for the return to junior varsity competition, something that is necessary with seven freshmen on the roster and many players new to the program.
“The biggest downfall is going to be the experience,” Hummer said. “I don’t have a lot of guys who have played before.
“The big thing this year is to just get them playing. We had a preseason scrimmage tournament at Dallas where we got to play seven other teams.”
Three seniors with 3-4 years each in the program will be counting on to lead the way for their younger teammates.
Middle hitter Zack Corey, outside hitter Charles Hennebaul and libero Bernard Karlowicz are the experienced players.
Hummer spent eight years as both the boys and girls volleyball assistants at Hanover Area where he played the sport. He was an assistant girls volleyball coach at Wyoming Area last fall.
Lake-Lehman has gone 0-12 each of the past two boys volleyball seasons.
The boys volleyball team is one of four spring sports teams at Lake-Lehman that have undergone head coaching changes.
Nicole Chipego is the new softball coach and Chris Hampel is the new boys lacrosse coach.
Ron Strohl takes over as the only head coach of the girls lacrosse team after sharing the position with Alex Wilson the previous two seasons.
Chipego returns to her alma mater as coach. After high school, she played in the National Pro Fastpitch Professional Women’s Softball League. She had been coaching as a volunteer assistant at Keystone College.
Lake-Lehman won its first two non-league games under Chipego, 14-0 over MMI Prep and 16-11 over Abington Heights.
The Black Knights finished last in Division 2 of the Wyoming Valley Conference last season with a 2-12 record.
The boys lacrosse team also struggled in 2015, going 2-8 in the WVC.
Hampel, who had served as co-head coach of the Dallas boys through the end of the 2014 season, will try to turn that around.
Strohl and Wilson worked together last spring to lead Lake-Lehman to the WVC Division 2 girls lacrosse title with a 10-3 record.
The changes will be minor, according to Strohl.
“Sometimes it just makes the job a little bit easier on the communication end than having two different coaches coaching with two different styles,” Strohl said. “It may be different as far as how the girls approach the game and how they prepare for a game.”