Volleyball Coach of the Year: James Wood’s Jill Couturiaux
Posted: November 30, 2012
After being stuck in second place for several years, James Wood volleyball coach Jill Couturiaux — The Winchester Star Volleyball Coach of the Year — guided the Colonels to a 22-5 record and a sweep of the Northwestern District regular season and tournament titles. James Wood went 7-1 in district play, dropping its final regular season match to Handley, but rallied back to beat the Judges in a tiebreaker. The Colonels then beat Handley in the district tournament finals, knocked off Powhatan in the Region II quarterfinals and defeated Potomac Falls in the semifinals to qualify for the state tournament.
Q. What were the expectations coming into the season?
Couturiaux: We sat down and made a goal to win the district and advance one step further in the regional tournament this year compared to last year. We did just that.
Q. What stands out about this season?
Couturiaux: The amount of focus and drive this team possessed stood out to me this season. From analyzing opposing team’s game film to perfecting a skill in practice, I continued to be impressed by just how focused they remained throughout the postseason.
Q. Any match that stands out?
Couturiaux: It’s got to be beating Potomac Falls in five to advance to states. My girls fought hard for that win and refused to back down. It was not an easy task for them, but they showed just how much fight they had. It was an incredible night to share with them.
Q. Most memorable moment?
Couturiaux: For me, the most memorable moment was match point against Potomac Falls in the Region II semifinals. Houser reached with her left hand to hit the ball that just fell short of their middle back. At that moment, she smacked the ground, Wampler fell to her knees, and our bench, which was sitting hand-in-hand, rushed the court. That win guaranteed us a trip to states and it was an incredibly fulfilling moment for me as a coach. The student section also rushed the court and I realized that wasn’t just a moment of celebration for my team, it was a moment of celebration for our school. I feel like that moment is one I’ll never forget ... it’s a moment every coach should have the opportunity to experience.
Q. Most difficult moment?
Couturiaux: The most difficult moment for me was figuring out what to say to my team after getting beat by Jamestown to end our season. I hadn’t prepared myself for that moment because I didn’t want to think about losing.
Q. Expectations for next season?
Couturiaux: I think we will do well next season. Although we are graduating six players, we have a solid group of returners who are tough competitors that want to win.
— Compiled by Kevin Trudgeon