Call of the bench: Former L-O coach takes over as head Southland volleyball coach

Published 10:27 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2017

ADAMS — After a successful stint as a volleyball coach at LeRoy-Ostrander, Lisa Hovde was content to sit in the background for a few years. But when the opportunity arose for her to get back on the coach’s bench, Hovde couldn’t resist.

Hovde’s teams went 147-56 overall while she was coaching the Cardinals and she’s hoping to pick up where she left off as she is now taking over as head volleyball coach at nearby Southland. Hovde had spent a few years as volunteer assistant and JV coach at LO as she focused on watching her daughter play volleyball.

She wasn’t exactly thinking about a comeback until the Southland position opened up and the timing was right for Hovde to make a move.

Southland head coach Lisa Hovde works with her team in practice in Adams Monday. Rocky Hulne/

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“I kind of just fell into it. Once I sit on the bench that adrenaline gets in you and you get that competitiveness in you,” Hovde said. “It was nice being a mom for a little bit where you can sit back and watch, but once you get back on the bench that competitiveness really comes out.”

Hovde describes herself as the kind of coach who will be dancing to One Direction one minute and then having her team work on 35 straight serve receives the next minute. She’s seriously competitive, but she likes to do it in a fun way.

That attitude hasn’t been lost on her new team as Southland senior hitter McKendry Kennedy has already enjoyed getting to know her new coach.

“She’s awesome. She’s really good at being positive with us,” Kennedy said. “She takes the time to talk with us and she’s really fun. We’ve gotten to know each other a lot.”

Kennedy and her senior teammate Emily Hovden weren’t aware of Hovde’s past success at LO, but they both are looking forward to playing for Hovde this season.

“She’s a really good coach,” Hovden said. “She’s really supportive of all of us and she has really good ideas.”

The Rebels went 6-16 overall last season, but they bring back some of their big hitters this fall. Kennedy racked up 149 kills and 149 digs with a serving percentage of 97 last season.

Hovde is hoping to have a big impact on the Rebels program right away.

“I like to have fun and laugh, but we take things very seriously too. I want the girls to have an enjoyable season and I want the seniors to have great memories of their season. I really just want to start building this program again.

Hovde used to coach against the Rebels and her Cardinals beat once topped Southland in a Section 1A West tournament match in 2011. But Hovde said the adjustment has been a smooth one, besides the fact that she’s had to adjust to wearing blue instead of red.

“We share so much with our two schools already,” Hovde said. “It’s kind of a nice change of pace. I’m working with different kids who I don’t know. It’s fun to come in and pick people out [based on their talent].”

Southland will open its season when it hosts Dover-Eyota on Aug. 31.