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WNCC gains volleyball asst. coach
April 08, 2016 Frank Marquez   

Read more by Frank Marquez
A hometown girl made her way back Western Nebraska Community College volleyball last week.

Whitney Roth, 26, a standout at Gering High School and WNCC, will be standing courtside in the fall, this time as assistant coach. She joins the Cougars after serving as a coaching and graduate assistant at Chadron State College for two years.

Prior to her time with the Eagles, she had coached a Gering freshman volleyball team that had gone 11-10 in the fall of 2013.

She got her first taste of coaching at Texas A&M – Kingsville, which is located in the southern reaches of the state beyond Corpus Christi along the Gulf waters. “I’m glad I went there,” she said. “I made some good friends that I’ll probably have for a lifetime.”

At A&M, she earned her Education degree, specializing in teaching K-12 Physical Education. She embarked on her learning career at WNCC in 2008, and played for Cougar volleyball teams which in both years managed to finish in third place at the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament. WNCC won championship titles in the years before and after Roth was a player there. So, as she put it, she’s “hungry to win a title.”

Roth said her ultimate professional goal is to become a director of volleyball operations at the Division I level. “I came from volleyball, and have such a passion for the game,” Roth said. “It’s a sport that has given me so much. I believe as a coach I can influence the lives of young women as a positive role model, and teach them to have high expectations for themselves and for the team.”

It is this kind of mentality, which she believes can help WNCC make a deep run into the postseason, if not earn the outright championship next season in the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament.
Last season in Casper, Wyoming, on Nov. 21, the Cougars fell short against the College of Southern Idaho in a five-match title game, giving up a crucial fourth set after being well ahead in points. The letdown spilled over into the fifth and final set in which WNCC fell behind early, unable to make up the deficit.

For right now, Roth wants to build on her experience. A small school like WNCC can help hone her skills in a number of areas, as opposed to a Division I school, which can seem too much like a business. “Head Coach Binny Canales contacted me about the position. We discussed expectations and found my experience met a lot of what he needed in an assistant. I’m looking forward to joining the program where I started my college career, and a program that gave me so much.”

Canales, heading into his third year as head coach at WNCC after stints at Laredo Community College and Texas A&M International, said, “I think Whitney is a great fit for us. She’s done a great job as a coach and player. She’s aware of our tradition, and that’s important. She knows what’s expected here. Plus, it helps that she has had experience as an assistant and interim head coach. We’re thrilled to have her.”

Roth watched the championship match in which the Cougars lost to the College of Southern Idaho, and said, “They should have won,” she said, “But watching is not the same as playing. It’s a totally different perspective,” she said. “Who is to say what was happening on the court, and making up that kind of deficit is a tall order.”

In her job at WNCC, Roth will primarily lend a hand in recruiting, bringing in new talent that will fit well with the team, and the system. She’ll also plan practices in which she might be asked to play. She’ll make a study of game management, scouting teams, breaking down the play of opponents, then build a scout team to mimic opponent’s tendencies.

In talking to the staff and team here, Roth said “They don’t want that same feeling of losing again. Immediately following the loss to Southern Idaho, recruiting focused on bringing in capable players. I’m positive and excited about the prospect of making a playoff run this next season. And I’m grateful to join a winning staff.”
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