New coach brings positivity to Rifle
Citizen Telegram Sports Editor
RIFLE — Kirsten Noska readily admits that she has no problem learning on the job as Rifle High School’s new volleyball coach. At the same time, however, she feels like she has plenty to teach the Bears for the upcoming 2015 season.
“I just love to learn,” said the 23-year-old Noska, who was hired last month as the new head volleyball coach at Rifle High School. “I did come from a struggling high school volleyball program, and that was tough. But when I was playing in [Junior Olympic] volleyball, I would always take the time to watch other players and other teams to see what I could pick up from them. I’m hoping I can use that in this job.”
As far as jobs, Noska’s upcoming teaching job for the upcoming fall season will be her first out of college. The 23-year-old graduated in May from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D., an NCAA Division II school where she was an athletic training/exercise science major who competed for four years on the track and field team. She graduated high school in Pequot Lakes, Minn., where she was a four-year starter on the school’s volleyball team.
“She’s going to be a good one,” Rifle High Athletic Director Troy Phillips said. “She has a lot of enthusiasm, and I think that will work its way down to our girls.”
Indications are that it already has.
Noska takes over a Rifle volleyball program for former longtime coach Erin Reider, who stepped down after the Bears finished an injury filled 4-19 campaign in the 4A Western Slope League. The Bears had shown progress in the win column the year prior to that, though, finishing 11-14 while playing in the 3A WSL while their appearance in the 3A state playoffs was their first postseason appearance in more than a decade.
Rifle, however, was in 2013 on the back end of playing down a classification due to poor finishes in previous seasons. Noska, acknowledging where the program has been, said the team seems enthusiastic about changing that.
“Everyone on the team that I’ve come around so far has been so coachable,” Noska said. “They’re eager to learn.”
Noska is also eager to teach the wealth of knowledge she already has. As a player at Pequot Lakes High — a school that’s about a three-hour drive north of Minneapolis — she played every position on the floor for a school she said was similar in size to Rifle. In her senior year, the Patriots posted a 3-16 overall record.
Thanks to that experience, Noska, citing that the coaching staff during her time in high school was different nearly every year, said she doesn’t want that for her team. She added that the players who have attended open-gym sessions at Rifle High School over the summer have not only been receptive to her, but are also receptive to an attitude change.
“For a lot of these girls, it’s more about having an attitude change,” Noska said. “We want to get the girl’s mentality going in the right direction where they always have the will to win.”
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