welcomed home after long road odyssey
By Dick Maloney
Clermont Northeastern High School hosted a triple bill in
one evening Oct. 11.
Opening Night. Homecoming. Senior Night. All at once.
The Rockets’ varsity and junior varsity volleyball teams played
Southern Buckeye Athletic and Academic Conference rival Georgetown and honored
senior middle blockers Jillian Kirby and Erika Gregston. Those two, along with
the rest of the JV and varsity players, had endured a grueling two months which
saw them travel approximately 950 miles, playing 21 straight matches on the
done anything at home. We haven’t practiced in this gym or anything. We
practiced in our middle school gym, which was OK. It has a much lower ceiling
and a lot less playable area, but we made it work,” coach Emma Keough said.
heavy rainstorm on a Friday night in June, water seeped through the roof, which
was being replaced, and seeped down the walls and onto the maple floor. High
school principal T.J. Glassmeyer said it took two weeks to tear up what was
left and begin the replacement process.
been the ideal situation for the students at all, and I feel bad for the girls
that they had to play almost all of their games on the road. It’s not easy to
do, but they came together, they bonded, they worked really, really hard and
we’re excited that we’re able to get them in tonight,” Glassmeyer said.
As the only
seniors on the team, Kirby and Gregston did their best to keep things in
perspective and help turn an unfortunate situation into a positive experience.
I was super nervous about it, because playing every game on the road, no one
does that, but it’s actually been super fun for the most part,” Kirby said. “I
mean the bus rides aren’t fun, just sitting there for 40 minutes for
long-distance games, but overall, I mean the team’s really rallied behind
everybody, and the games have been really good and a lot of parents have come
out to watch us play too, so we’ve had a good support system.”
said the travel sometimes took its toll. The shortest trip for the Rockets was
to Williamsburg – 18 miles round trip. The longest was East Clinton – 77 miles
round trip, and the Rockets went there twice.
like we could have fallen apart a lot because we’re going to all of these away
games and we’re all going to be tired and we’re all going to be in bad moods
some days, and I feel like we just have to be there for your team and pick them
up because it’s going to be really hard,” Gregston said.
she couldn’t ask for a better duo to set the example.
“Oh gosh, I
could go on a long time I’ve said from the beginning, as terrible as I felt
about this season being this way for these two, they were the best seniors for
this to happen to, because those two more than any I’ve coached I knew they
would handle this adversity with class and would handle it with a leadership
attitude and would deal with it the best, but having those two for four years,
thinking about talking about them after tonight when we have our little
celebration, I don’t like thinking about it because they really mean a lot to
me. Dealing with it by not dealing with it. Getting the privilege of working
with two really great kids for four years is a special thing, and both of them
have a very special place in my heart personally, and in the school and in the
program as well,” Keough said.
like it was, I feel like people kind of looked to us to see how we reacted to
the news of, OK, this is your senior year, it kind of sucks the most for you
guys,” Kirby said. “You don’t have a single home game except for this one,
which we weren’t even sure if we could play this one in the gym, so I think
people kind of looked to us to see how we responded to it. But we were both
just kind of ‘Well, now we have to win on the road, so let’s just go do it.’”
credited her coach, and said Senior Night would be an emotional experience.
really exciting, but I’m really sad because I’ve been with my coaches four
years now. We’ve gotten to know each other really well,” Gregston said. “It’s
really sad leaving such a great team, great coaching throughout the year, just
like I’ve gotten so much better because of my coaching and because of my
fighting the emotions of the evening an hour before the ceremonies.
excited … I know I’m going to cry, because like she said, we’ve been on this
team for four years and it means a lot to us being here, and I’m about to cry
now to think about it.”
in the smaller middle school gymnasium may have made CNE a better team.
us to be in more control. Our ball control was a lot better because we had to
keep the ball out of the ceiling. I would say control over all and learning to
play within space available,” Keough said.
director Dave Colwell said the entire school was affected by the disruption,
and work on the arena was finished just hours before the Georgetown match, with
hanging SBAAC banners and putting down mats for the team chairs.
“We had to
move basketball offseason workouts, gym classes. Those were the two main kinds
of highways to get through the building were the stage and the bleachers.
During lunch, before school, kids used to always be in the bleachers. Those
were some of the challenges. The gym was completely closed,” Colwell said.
also took a temporary financial hit. They did not get any gate receipts for
previously scheduled home matches that had to be moved.
Glassmeyer both said the new floor may be the best in the SBAAC. They visited
the Robbins Sports Surfaces on Eastern Avenue.
went with, was we wanted it to be unique to match the layout of our gym as
possible, and that’s kind of what we came up with,” Colwell said
a checkerboard, parquet-style design – which Colwell referred to as “Boston
Square,” similar to that made famous at the old Boston Garden.
similar to what it was in the past. We wanted to, whenever we could make the
floor pop, so the SBC and the Rockets, they are both outlined so you can see
the floor through those,” Colwell said.
we’re going to have the prettiest court in Clermont County. I mean it’s really
a show piece for our students,” Glassmeyer said.
defeated Georgetown in straight sets, 25-10, 25-1, 25-4, to complete a 14-7
regular season. The Rockets went 9-3 in the SBAAC National Division, finishing
second behind Williamsburg. They earned the No. 5 seed n the Division III
sectional tournament and began postseason play against No. 6 Madeira Tuesday,
Oct. 16, at Blanchester, one of the gyms they visited twice during their travel
optimistic her team could make school history and advance out of sectionals.
great attitudes and they’re great team players. They play defense very well. I
think our offense has improved as the season has gone on, and more than
anything, they have a fight about them, and these two seniors right here are
definitely key cogs in that, to be determined and to tell the rest of the team
‘We can do this if we just play our game and play consistently, we can
Clermont Northeastern’s volleyball road trips
Clinton - 38.8
Brown - 16.5
(vs. Cincinnati Trailblazers)- 25.9
Clinton - 38.8
Richmond - 19.7
Valley Christian - 16.1
CNE, in partnership with the community, will provide
students with the skills and exploratory experiences that enable them to reach
their fullest potential. To accomplish this, the CNE staff will:
• Strive to make children confident and creative builders of
• Research, design, and provide the best academic program
and learning environment possible for students.
Schools in the CNE District include Clermont Northeastern
High School, Clermont Northeastern Middle School, Clermont Northeastern
Elementary School and Clermont Northeastern Preschool.