By Donald Heath
Special for the Effingham Herald
GUYTON — Volleyball has rotated full circle for Jenna Gerbasi.
The Rincon native was a freshman at South Effingham when the volleyball program began in 2000.
Twenty-one years later, Gerbasi is set to be the Mustangs coach, taking over for Chancey Garrett.
“Playing volleyball was always something I’ve been passionate about and now I’ll finally get the chance to coach. I’m looking forward to this new adventure,” Gerbasi said.
Up to this point, she’s been a little busy, being married with three children and entering her seventh year teaching business classes at SEHS.
Gerbasi said she didn’t know about the Mustangs volleyball program as a high school freshman but starred the next three years as an outside hitter.
She continued her playing days for another three years as an outside hitter and playing all-around while earning a degree in business at Brenau University in Gainesville.
Gerbasi was hired in May and has had the chance to work with some of her new players during open gym days in the summer.
Last week, Club Savannah held a volleyball camp at SEHS, which many Mustangs attended.
“I think we have great kids here and now we have to get them to work together as a team,” Gerbasi said. “They want to know what they’re doing right and wrong. The girls want feedback and I think that makes (coaching) easy.”
Gerbasi will inherit a squad that finished 9-21 overall against a demanding schedule, 3-5 and in fifth place among seven teams in Region 2-AAAAAA a year ago.
SEHS had signature non-region wins against Effingham County and Statesboro — two state playoff teams from the region — but lost to the Rebels and Blue Devils in the games that counted in the region standings.
This year’s team will build around two returnees — junior setter Avery Kilbourne and senior middle hitter Kara Williams.
Overall, the program remains popular. Gerbasi said more than 70 girls went out for the team. She kept 26 for varsity and junior varsity.
“First and foremost, you want the girls to learn and grow,” Gerbasi said. “Obviously, it would be great to win.”
In accordance with the Georgia High School Association, mandatory practices can begin Aug. 2.
The Mustangs open their volleyball season Aug. 17 at Hilton Head Prep.