Kim Saunders' career at Waynesboro comes full circle
The last time Waynesboro's girls volleyball team finished with an undefeated record in the regular season, Kim Saunders was a senior setter for the Maidens.
This time, she was on the sideline. Saunders has worked wonders for Waynesboro since she arrived as head coach four seasons ago, and this year, the Maidens finished 18-0 in the regular season and earned their second straight Mid Penn Capital Division title. Saunders is the Public Opinion Girls Volleyball Coach of the Year.
"To finish undefeated was huge," Saunders said. "For this program to turn around this drastically in four years, it's been honor to coach these seniors and to guide them to such a prestigious mark. For us to reach this milestone, it's a big deal for the program."
When Saunders took the job at Waynesboro, she said she didn't know of the struggles the Maidens had in years past -- "All I know about Waynesboro is success," she said. But she quickly learned that she had taken over a team that was just 2-16 the year prior. Waynesboro made strides, finishing 10-8 in Saunders' first season, and since then, it has been continuing on an upward trend.
"I had a formula that I was going to use to teach the girls, motivate the girls and hopefully eventually become successful," Saunders said. "That first year, the girls were hungry. Then we just continued to build. We had more open gyms, camps, weight lifting. They bought in and did their own stuff as well. It has been tremendously rewarding."
One thing that was a big compliment to Saunders was the fact that her players always said she had just the right words to motivate them. During a tough stretch against Greencastle-Antrim, the Maidens took a timeout and immediately came back with a new sense of self. They won the match, which clinched the Capital Division crown.
Saunders said, "It was Olivia Fogelsonger who said, 'You always know what the team needs to hear and when we need to hear it. You know when to be tough and when to be comical.'" This year, I had to be more prepared for timeouts, practices, matches and team bonding. I like coaching the underdog, so this year, I felt like I had to do a lot more because there was lot of people looking at us and gunning for us."
That doesn't seem like it's going to change any time soon, especially with Saunders at the helm. This is just her fourth season as head coach and her second Coach of the Year honor.