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Martins Ferry names Jen Olson new volleyball coach

MARTINS FERRY — Jen Olson believes she’s walking into a good situation.

As the new head coach of the Martins Ferry High School volleyball team, Olson is eager to put her stamp on a program that, frankly, has endured some tough times recently.

As the program’s third coach in four seasons, Olson is familiar face, having served as an assistant at the lower levels to former head coach Kyle Metzger. That, she hopes, can provide the genesis for a turnaround in the win-loss column.

“I’ve been working to establish a mindset with the three returning (varsity) starters,” she said.

“They, the veterans, and the incoming freshmen work really well together. The communication has been amazing.”

Olson admits taking on her first head coaching assignment has generated some nerves, but she’s comfortable in the fact she has a team that’s very familiar with her from her days as an eighth- and seventh-grade coach.

“I’m taking some things that I learned as a player and transitioning that into teaching the girls a solid philosophy.”

Victories, of course, are the ultimate goal. To get there, Olson said it will take hard work from everyone associated with the program, something she’s seen a lot of this summer in workouts.

“We’ve been working out four days a week,” she said. “We’ve had a really good turnout at all levels and we’ve been working on our agility every day.

“I’ve coached all of these girls since I’ve started (at Martins Ferry) and I’m very familiar with how they play and their mentality.”

A 1994 graduate of Elida High School, Olson played softball at Bluffton College. She started her education in teaching, then got away from it to raise her family, which includes sons Caleb and Cody, both seniors at Martins Ferry.

Later, she resumed her education and started teaching in Elida. Soon, the family moved to Martins Ferry.

She’s been teaching for 10 years and coached JV softball in Elida for five.

“We had three weeks of summer league and (the team) improved every week, which was good to see,” Olson said.

“They’re starting to get their mindsets changed.”

Olson said she’ll be implementing a plethora of new systems and, so far, her team has taken to everything quite well.

“We’re just taking things one practice and one game at a time,” she said. “I have high expectations.”

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