GJHS introduces new volleyball head coach

Eilers hopes to serve up victories in the Fall


Nevaeh Crockett

The GJHS volleyball team had a “pink out” game in Fall 2022 to support team member Sofia Grasso. New coach Jeniel Eilers will lead the Tigers in 2023.

Jeniel Eilers, the new Grand Junction High School girls’ volleyball head coach, brings a wide variety of experience in the field of volleyball and coaching.

“I played volleyball the whole time I was growing up. As a little kid I played good old fashioned rec ball, and when I was about 10 years old I started playing club volleyball each spring. Two of my older sisters also played volleyball so I enjoyed going to their high school and college games leading into my time playing high school,” Eilers said. She started coaching club volleyball her senior year of high school and started volunteering at her old high school shortly after

Eilers has many goals for this upcoming season to help the team to succeed.

“I think it’s pretty common for coaches to have the goal of taking state, or qualifying or other easily measurable goals, and while I certainly want to win our fair share of matches this next year, what I really want our program to focus on is not win-loss records but progress and growth,” Eilers said. “It’s easy to get lost in the weeds and focus too much on stats or points scored. I want to focus on the quality of experience that my girls have and improving the overall skill level of the program, which will take some time, but I’m optimistic that we’ll see promising progress this year.”

Last year’s season ended with an overall winning record of 2-21, winning two games and losing twenty-one games. So, the team’s athletes are also looking forward to a promising year. 

GJHS sophomore volleyball player Gracie Hampton said, “This upcoming season I want a lot more team bonding and I would like to win. I think that we’re all kind of tired of losing.”

On winning, Eilers said, “It’s no secret that the last couple of seasons haven’t shown very much success and my personal philosophy is that to turn that record around we need to work on fundamentals like serving and passing. We’ll start that in spring and summer open gyms and essentially just build up other skills from there.” 

There are still a few steps that need to be taken before the season can start, but Eilers officially started optional open gyms on March 28.

“We might do some workouts here and there depending on the availability of the weight room,” Eilers said. “But once the summer starts we will do weights and volleyball three times per week.”

After all the confusion at the end of last season, and the resignation of the 2022 head volleyball coach, Coach Haas, there is finally some clarity as to what the incoming season will look like. In Hampton’s words, “Change can sometimes be a good thing.”

Eilers said, “I am very excited to work with the volleyball team, coaching is such a passion for me and I can’t wait to get back into it.”