ETSU women’s volleyball is in the process of rebuilding and bonding to prepare for the new year after coming off a successful 2018 season. The Bucs gained a 15-1 SoCon record last year, and made it to the semi-finals in the SoCon championship.

“It’s been great,” said newly hired head coach Benavia Jenkins. “Johnson City is in itself just a great community that supports all the sports and the students, and I’m really thankful to be a part of a family that is so close knit.”

Jenkins has brought seven freshmen onto the new team so far, and is still looking to add more. The latest addition being freshman Lauren Hatch (Homewood, Illinois).

“We are going to be very young next year,” said Jenkins. “This spring is just focusing on that team unity and bonding and getting them to understand the system that we will be running.”

The Bucs will only have six returning athletes for the new season.

“Our girls have accepted me with arms wide open and the same from me,” said Jenkins. “I walked into a situation where I know that we lost a great class, but the previous coaching staff did a great job getting great student athletes who work hard in the classroom and are respectable.”

The Bucs will begin training with the new freshmen in the beginning of July and will have from then until the regular season begins in August to prepare.

“I think she’s a really good fit for the program,” said senior Kaela Massey (Brentwood, Tennessee) of the new coach. “Me and her have a really good relationship already.”

From July to August the Bucs will be in the training room preparing, but it’s the mental bonding that the faculty and staff really wants the team to accomplish and strengthen for the regular and conference season.

“I think [Jenkins] really cares about us, but as much as she cares about us as volleyball players, which I think is really important, and she has a good head on her shoulders and knows what she’s going to do with us,” said Massey.