The Russellville Indians high school volleyball team will see a new face take charge this season, as Elizabeth Lambert was named the team’s newest head coach this month.
Lambert takes the reins of an Indians team that finished with an 8-16-1 record last season and ended the campaign with a loss to Calvary Lutheran in the first round of the Class 2 District 6 Tournament.
Lambert said she grew up in the St. Peters area. While she went to a big high school, Lambert said she loves the idea of a small town and being in a small town community. Being part of a such a community is a reason she decided to come to Russellville, she said.
“Being able to bring the community together for games and things like that,” Lambert said. “Just that hometown feel. I did not feel like I really had that, and that is something I want to be a part of.”
Lambert previously coached with a club volleyball team in Iowa, and she also has some coaching experience in the St. Louis area.
When it comes to her coaching style, Lambert said she loves being able to connect with students on the athletic level.
“Helping grow leadership skills, because there is so much that comes through the idea of sports and being on a team that really translates into life outside of sports,” Lambert said. “And just kind of bringing that idea to the players is something that really speaks to me. Building character, that is a huge thing, knowing how to work as a team and a positive attitude, all of those kinds of things.”
Communication will be a skill that Lambert said she will have the players focus on. Leadership skills, on and off the court, will be another key area of focus for the team to work on, as will having a positive attitude.
“Volleyball, especially, is very much a game of communication,” Lambert said. “So communication is a big one, being able to communicate with each other on the court at all times and being there as a team and working together, in that team atmosphere, is also really big. Volleyball is not one of those sports where just one person scores the point kind of a thing. You have the set, you have the pass to the set, and you have the hit, so working as a team and the communication, those are really big things.”
When practices start later this year and Russellville players have the chance to begin getting used to having her as the coach, Lambert said she wants to see the athletes working hard, something she said is important to her.
“Putting their all out there at every practice and hustling, whether you are just going to get a ball or you are running across the gym for something; we don’t walk, we hustle everywhere we go,” Lambert said. “And just that mentality of we are here to work, and we are going to work hard.”