Coach Eric Feller did the best he could in his maiden year leading the Oldenburg Academy Lady Twisters. With youth and inexperience prevalent on his 2020-21 roster, OA turned in a 4-15 campaign culminating in a 57-21 loss to Jac-Cen-Del at the Waldron sectional.
Now, on the dawn of a new season – Providence visits Hillenbrand Family Feldhaus Friday evening – the Twisters hope to turn hard work into more positive results.
“Last year was a transition year for our program,” explains Feller, a business and U.S. History teacher at the academy.
“We laid a great foundation for our program and our goal this year is to build upon it,” he adds. “The building of this program is a multi-year process. We have a ton of energy in our program with nearly 20 girls playing.”
Of that score of girls, the coach lists a primary varsity rotation of seven, led by senior Emma Weberding.
“Aside from Emma, no one else on our roster has more than a full year of varsity experience,” says OA's former football coach. “Even our sophomores and juniors were part-time junior varsity players until the end of (last) season.”
Another senior is Alyssa Wanstrath, with Ashley Borgman and Hannah Haverkos coming from the junior ranks. Promising sophomores include Rachel Lamping, Ellie Ryan and Kate Weber.
“We have some girls who will surprise, and others have greatly improved from last year,” Feller reveals. “I'm really excited to continue developing these girls as the season progresses.”
The mentor expects a better season overall in 2021-22, though the Twisters will have to weather a tough stretch of games in November. Six games between Nov. 12 – the Southwesterns (Hanover and Shelbyville), Lawrenceburg, Jac-Cen-Del, Morristown and Union County - and Thanksgiving break come against schools with winning records a year ago. Feller also doesn't hesitate in calling Sectional 60 the most competitive tournament in Class A. OA will see all sectional foes during the regular season. “But nothing fazes our girls,” he adds.
According to the coach, the Twisters will look to run a bit more this winter.
“This year, you will notice a completely different team than last year,” states Feller. “We are much more athletic and will play at a faster pace. We've changed our defense and offense, so I expect a learning curve; but we have incredibly intelligent girls who are learning fast.”
The young ladies have shown well in an offseason consisting of spring, summer and fall practices and weight room training, per the coach.
“The keys for our girls will be confidence and simply learning how to win,” Feller concludes.