St. Vincent volleyball has found its man, so to speak.
Darren Verseman will be the volleyball coach this fall, replacing Amy Umfleet, who was the head coach for the past five seasons.
Verseman said the position was really intriguing to him.
“I love the game of volleyball and have for a long time,” Verseman said. “I enjoy coaching and teaching the game. My wife and daughters are all die hard St. Vincent alums, so when the job came open, they kind of steered me toward applying for the position.”
Verseman noted that he has a really simple coaching style when it comes to teaching the game of volleyball.
“I want to teach the game in a way that is successful and in turn they learn to love the game as much as I do,” Verseman said. “I try to explain why I do things as much what we are doing. I want them to do something, but at the same time know why I think it’s the best way to do it.”
Verseman hopes to continue the tradition of success for St. Vincent volleyball that has included reaching the district championship game in three of the last five seasons. St. Vincent reached the Class 2, District 3 championship game before falling to Saxony Lutheran in 2020. St. Vincent finished Class 1 runner-ups in 2014. While Verseman isn’t predicting a state title in his first year, he does want to be competitive in every game they play.
“Since I first became aware of St. Vincent volleyball, which was when my future wife was playing, “I was always impressed by how hard the kids worked.” Verseman said. “They scraped for every point. After being coach for about one month this summer, I can see that hasn’t changed. The girls are willing to go all-out to get a ball and keep it alive and fight for every point.”
While that has always been a calling card for St. Vincent over the years, Verseman is hoping to bring another strong attribute to his teams.
“Unlike other sports, volleyball doesn’t have player-to-player contact,” he said. “However, there is still an ability to impose your will on another team. Whether in my case because I’m a bigger guy, that’s at the net either by hitting or blocking. Also being able to dig a ball that the other team thinks they just crushed. I want to be able to keep pressure on the other team to make good plays, either with our offense or our defense. I don’t want to give away free points. “
In the practices so far, Verseman has seen much to like about this year’s Lady Indians squad.
Most impressive to date as been their ability to listen.
“The girls have been really attentive in the practices we have had so far,” Verseman said. “These girls want to learn.”
Verseman has seen his time on the sideline in the past coaching at the USA Volleyball level in Perryville as well as spending time as a Missouri State High School Activities Association volleyball referee for the past few seasons. Verseman was also on the coaching staff at St. Vincent from 2007-2009. He hopes to be a better coach than he was back in the late 2000s.
“I would like to think I’m a better communicator now,” Verseman said. “Back then I was putting more time into what I was looking to teach the girls and I didn’t pay much attention to what went on around them and talking to them as people. I want to widen my focus to the things around the sport that will help make the team successful.”