PHS volleyball: Joelle Berger

Philomath's Joelle Berger works on a backward pass during a drill in preseason practice while Emma Pankalla looks on.

BRAD FUQUA, PHILOMATH EXPRESS

Philomath High's volleyball team lost in four sets Thursday to open the season and although it's never fun to lose, it hopefully served as a learning experience for the program as it moves forward.

First-year coach Denee Newton mentioned more than once during a preseason interview that the players have embraced a certain philosophy that she teaches.

"Absorb, change and grow — I couldn't ask for anything else," she said.

Newton complimented her student-athletes for their dedication and willingness to accept that change.

"You don't really see that in an entire program," Newton said. "The least coachable kid in the gym is a kid with maybe some insecurities, but really, I don't think there's one athlete in here that doesn't say, 'yes coach.'"

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