College volleyball: New West coach trades Florida for Minnesota
WORTHINGTON -- Arriving at Minnesota from Florida, Rebecca Colon is the new head of the Minnesota West Community and Technical College volleyball program, and she’s rarin’ to go.
“I’m just extremely excited about the season. I want it to start right away. But I’m really looking forward to meeting the girls,” she said this week in her office.
Colon was born and raised in Orlando, Fla., and this is her first time in Minnesota.
“My personality has always been to try something new. When an opportunity is put into your path, there’s a reason. Don’t take an opportunity for granted, to let it fall to the wayside and later regret it,” she explained.
Practice for the upcoming 2018 season begins on Friday. Colon will lead a Minnesota West team coming off one of its best seasons in recent memory under the direction of Marie Johnson, who stepped down after posting an 11-6 record to devote more time to her family. Some key performers from last year’s squad have graduated, but Colon has high hopes.
“It’s definitely a challenge,” she said. “But as long as I have girls who are hard workers, who are willing to work, that won’t be so much of a challenge.”
Colon played as an outside hitter during her high school career and was her team’s offensive MVP twice. After waiting a year to enter college, she played at the next level at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, where she was moved to libero. Desiring to move closer to home, she later played at the University of Central Florida where she also competed at club and sand volleyball.
She’s an experienced coach, and her resume includes two years as a coach at Osceola High School, which resulted in district championships both years.
Regarding her coaching philosophy, Colon explains, “I don’t want to say strict, but I’m definitely organized. Not always by the book, but I will push my athletes to excellence. … Especially having a new team that hasn’t yet played together -- making sure they have team-building skills, able to work well together.”
She likes employing a 5-1 system, with five hitters and one setter, a lot of rotational defense, and some adaptable perimeter defense depending upon the abilities of her players.
Minnesota’s climate is not like Florida’s, but Colon is embracing it. She smiles when she says she has vacationed in the cold weather of the Northeast, adding, “But it’s a lot different going from a week or two to living in it. It will definitely be a change.”