GISBRECHT AT A GLANCE:
Alma Mater: Ohio Wesleyan
Record at Elms: 80-176
NECC/Conference Record: 32-44
Seasons at Elms: 10
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 1 (2017)
Accomplishments: 2017 NECC Champions, 2017 undefeated conference record, 2017 NECC Coach of the Year.
Sheila Gisbrecht was hired as head coach of the Elms College women’s volleyball team prior to the 2008 season. In 2017, the Blazers brought home the first NECC championship in program history. Gisbrecht was named 2017 NECC Coach of the Year. Freshman Dakota Steward was named NECC rookie of the year, and the Blazers had 4 players named to the all-conference teams.
The 2017 season was a historical one for the Blazers women’s volleyball team. The team defeated Lesley in straight sets in the NECC conference championship to claim their first ever conference championship. The Blazers would earn a bid to the NCAA division III regional tournament. Elms squared off against the number one team in the region, Johnson and Whales. The season would end for the Blazers, but not after their first after trip to the regional tournament.
Since taking over the program in the 2008 season, Coach Gisbrecht has directed her teams to five New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) postseason tournament appearances including the championship match in 2008 and 2017, had one player named NECC Player of the Year, two players named Rookie of the Year, eight players named First Team All-NECC, seven named Second Team All-NECC, one named Third Team All-NECC and two players named Honorable Mention All-NECC.
Prior to Elms College, Coach Gisbrecht served as the assistant coach of Ohio Wesleyan University’s women’s volleyball program for 11 seasons. During Coach Gisbrecht’s tenure, the Battling Bishops posted five 20-plus win seasons.
Coach Gisbrecht was a 2-sport standout at Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU), earning All-America honors in track & field and North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Player of the Year honors in volleyball. A 3-time All-NCAC selection in volleyball, she capped her career by receiving NCAC Player of the Year honors her senior year. She led the NCAC in kills as a senior (3.39/game) and helped the volleyball team reach the finals of the NCAC tournament for the first time (1992), compile an 8-0 regular-season conference record for the first time (1993) and win its first-ever NCAC championship (1994). The Bishops went 88-49 during her 4 years.
In track and field, Gisbrecht won 4 straight NCAC conference championships in the shot put in both indoors and outdoors. A remarkable athlete, she placed in NCAC championships in 8 different events (shot put, javelin, discus, long jump, 55 hurdles, triple jump, high jump and 100 hurdles), earning a total of 13 all-conference awards while helping the Battling Bishops to two conference titles and three runner-up finishes. During her senior year, she placed in the javelin and the discus to help Ohio Wesleyan win the NCAC outdoor championship. She claimed All-America honors in the shot put with an eighth-place finish at the NCAA Division III outdoor meet. Sheila just missed All-America honors during the Indoor season with a seventh-place finish at the NCAA meet. As a junior, she claimed victory in the shot put with an NCAC-record throw, and placed in the long jump and 55 hurdles as OWU won the NCAC indoor title. Gisbrecht went on to finish 14th in the shot at the NCAA Division III meet. During her junior outdoors season year, she received her first All-America status with a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Division III meet.
Gisbrecht was elected to the Ohio Wesleyan University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005.
Coach Gisbrecht earned her bachelor’s degree with a teaching certification from Ohio Wesleyan and received her master’s degree in exercise and sports studies at Smith College. In addition to her coaching duties, she serves as the athletic department’s strength and conditioning coach.
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Welsh enters his third season in the assistant chair of the Elms College Women's Volleyball program, joining the coaching staff after a four-year career with the Blazers Men's Volleyball team. Under Welsh's assistantship, the Blazers have captured an 11-38 record, and has helped produce 2015 First Team All-NECC selection Danielle Redding and 2016 Third Team All-NECC selection Hannah Adams.
A four-year player for the Men's Volleyball program, Welsh ranks third all-time in assists with 2,061 in 312 sets of action. Welsh averaged 6.61 assists per set, fifth-most all-time, with 93 kills, 60 service aces, 381 digs, and 63 total blocks. Welsh ranks eighth all-time in service attempts (862) and tenth all-time in aces. As a senior, Welsh delivered the seventh-most assists in a single season with 656, averaging 8.75 assists per set, seventh-most in a single season. During his junior season, Welsh logged the second-highest assist percentage in a season with a .775 mark in 2013. Welsh owns the three highest single-season serve percentage marks, including a single-season high serve percentage of a perfect 1.000 in 94 serve attempts as a freshman. Welsh posted a .980 percentage (199 serves) in 2014, and a .978 percentage on a career-high 232 attempts in 2015. As a sophomore, Welsh dished out a career-high 64 assists against Southern Vermont, the sixth-most assists in a single match.