The upcoming season of East men’s volleyball marks the start of a new era for the program. The Wolves will embark on this new season and era with a new Head Coach, former Assistant Coach Dru Filkins.
Senior libero and defensive specialist Ian Kiilsgaard said Filkins is going to bring a lot to the program this season.
“He has been here since I was a freshman and for lots of us, he was our junior varsity coach,” Kiilsgaard said. “I think he’s bringing a lot of morale and effort to our program.”
Despite this shift in leadership, the Wolves will continue to live by the program’s established mantra, “core, character, power, and grit”.
Keeping the mission the same this year, Coach Filkins is set on continuing the ethic that the program has built while also bringing in new emphasis.
“I want to put more of an emphasis on character than anything else this year,” Filkins said. “How are you going to be accountable to both your teammates and your program?”
Junior outside Tyrus Cloat said that having a new coach doesn’t change the mindset, but rather instills and reinforces the philosophy the program has lived by.
“The new addition with coach Filkins is really great so far, he’s already taught us all a lot and I can’t wait to see what else we can learn from him. I feel like our expectations are pretty similar to last year, win, have fun, and have no regrets,” Cloat said.
The urge to win isn’t overlooked by Filkins, who said he always has competition on his mind.
“My mindset is that we’re definitely going to be competitive in conference, we should be, and we look to go far in the state tournament,” Filkins said.
For freshman libero Nathan Thach, Coach Filkins is all he knows. He said that the new coaching staff is already helping him and other players improve.
“Filkins has taken a leadership role very well without many bumps on the road,” Thach said. “I like that they pay attention to the errors and know how to fix them and are overall very helpful.”
Both Cloat and Thach said that despite the new coaching staff, the team’s success relies upon player mentality.
“Our mindset is heavily focused on communication and the energy we put on the court, if there is a single person not putting in as much effort the whole team is going to feel it, we’ve been working very hard to ensure that everyone on the court is able to stay motivated and communicate,” Cloat said.
“The seasons are still very early and there are lots to work on,” Thach said. “We’re all waking up and realizing that if we want to win then we’re gonna have to work hard to reach the common goal.”
To reach their shared goal, Filkins said it comes down to the bond the team has.
“I want us to come together as a cohesive unit so when times get tough we can rely on the bond to hold us together,” Filkins said.
The varsity Wolves will kick off their season at Neuqua Valley High School this Tuesday, Mar. 20.
Samantha Trujillo is a staff editor for Oswego East’s online magazine, the Howl