Former Bradenton Christian Coach Andrea Kneser comes back to Hernando County as Springstead High School’s new head volleyball coach.
Article and Photography by ALICE MARY HERDEN
“I knew one day maybe my path would cross back with Hernando County,” said Kneser whose first volleyball coaching position was with Central High School in Brooksville.
After graduating from Webber International College, an injury that led to a full knee replacement put her plans to further her career playing International Beach Volleyball to a halt. But that injury didn’t stop her from being involved in the sport that she loved.
“I went straight into the coaching ranks,” Andrea said. “I coached underneath some leadership at Winterhaven High School, but I took my first coaching job at Central High School.”
In 2013, Andrea took the position as head volleyball coach at Central High School, but unfortunately, it lasted just a year since she had to commute from Bradenton and couldn’t put in the time the team needed. She continued her coaching closer to home at Bradenton Christian in 2015, where Andrea built the Panthers’ volleyball program. In 2018 she ended her fourth season as Panther head volleyball coach, advancing the Division 3A team from 31st to 11th in State Division rankings.
Just a couple of days before the official Eagles tryouts, Andrea and a group of girls participated in a three-day team camp at USF (University of South Florida) in Tampa.
“We partnered with Courtney Draper, (USF head volleyball coach) and her college team for a three-day team camp. She is a great mentor and a role model of mine,” Andrea said.
“It really exceeded my expectations. It was a great experience, and we got to learn a lot about each other.”
As for the coaches participating in the camp, they received some valuable tips from USF head volleyball coach Courtney Draper.
“I always learn from her. She had coaching strategy sessions, one every night, where she met with the coaches. It was a round table forum. It got my wheels turning on how I have run offense and defense in my high school teams. But she was able to break it down to what she has seen work well from her college team, and recommend what approaches (to implement) at the high school level,” Andrea said.
“Having that opportunity to sit at the roundtable and hear from her, as well as the other coaches, it was a really valuable lesson.”
When there are changes in the coaching staff for any sport, those changes depict how the team moves forward. It is not only from the coach's personal experience; it’s also about redefining the team strategies. These changes may incorporate some aspects of the previous coach’s framework to include in their own program.
“It’s kind of the culture we have at Springstead and to build that family environment because Coach Leonard had a good foundation of that. I want to build off of that family foundation and make Springstead the team to beat in the county,” she said.
Eagles begin their 2019 season defending their home net against Crystal River on August 20. JV starts at 5:30 pm and Varsity begins at 7 pm.