By Camryn Williams ’22
Girls Volleyball Program Head and Varsity Coach Hayley Blanchard has begun her first year at the school. Furthermore, she will teach physical education at the Middle School in the spring.
Prior to coming to the school, Blanchard coached at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach for three years. After leading her team to the Bay League Championship and CIF-SS (Southern Section), she was named The Daily Breeze’s Coach of the Year. Blanchard is also an alumna of Mira Costa High School. She played in their volleyball program and won a State Championship in 2005 and a State and National Championship in 2006. From there she went on to play for Davidson College, where she ranks as having the third most assists.
The varsity team seems to be off to a great start with an overall record of 14-6. Blanchard reflected on the team’s progress. ` “It’s hard to say what will happen two months from now, but the girls have been playing well, and they are responding to where we have been challenged and they can look back at games where they played well and where they didn’t play as well and they can figure out how to fix those msitakes,” Blanchard said.
Blanchard described her high energy coaching style.
“Just being able to relate to girls and knowing that whether they are 12- or 17-year-old girls, they are going to feed off of [the coaches’] energy and how [they] are reacting on the bench and [their] getting outwardly frustrated and acting on that, and for most girls that doesn’t make them respond in a manner that is going to help the team.” Blanchard said. “I just want to let them know that I understand that they are going to make mistakes but we also want to learn from those mistakes and create an energy that is going to keep the team going in a positive manner,”
Her team seems to be feeding off of her energy and applying it on the court.
“I would say that [Blanchard] is definitely an intense coach, but she really cares about the team and about each player and making sure that everyone gets better individually in order to promote a better team success,” varsity player Britt Gronemeyer ‘20 said. “Our team has only really responded in positive ways. We all really love her as a coach and it’s been clear in the way that we’ve been competing that we are all learning a lot from her.”
Blanchard is also the director of Surfside Volleyball Club located in Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes and Sherman Oaks. She currently resides in Hermosa Beach and in her free time, enjoys traveling, riding bikes on the beach and spending time outdoors.