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As the new volleyball coach at St. Mary's High School in Lynn, Erin (Kozul) Menard is in the process of getting to know the 51 players who showed up for tryouts. She is already familiar with the Spartans' Catholic Central League foes, having been one of them as a player and coach.
Menard was a standout player at Arlington Catholic (Class of 1999) who went on to play one year at Emmanuel College before an injury ended her career prematurely. She became a sub-varsity coach at AC while she was still in college then, after a few years off, took over as varsity coach at her alma mater in 2008.
After coaching two years, Menard took a break from volleyball, though she has been an assistant basketball coach at AC since 2004. When the St. Mary's position became available, she knew the time was right for her to return to the volleyball court.
"I've always wanted to get back into it," she said. "I left coaching (volleyball) when I got married, and I knew I would come back to it someday. St. Mary's is a great opportunity to be at a new school with new faces."
St. Mary's Athletic Director Jeff Newhall said he is pleased to have attracted a coach with Menard's experience.
"Erin has been a part of championship programs as a player and coach," he said. "I'm confident she will take our volleyball program to the next level."
Menard said volleyball provides an excellent option for female athletes looking for a fall sport. "If someone is looking for a fall sport, I always suggest volleyball," she said. "It's a fun sport and a good team sport. Most kids don't play until they get to high school, so there is an opportunity to teach as well as coach."
Menard was pleased to welcome 17 Marian Division and grade 9 students and 34 upperclassmen -- including seven returning varsity players -- on the first day Monday. The numbers will allow the Spartans to have a varsity, JV and freshman team.
"I'm very happy with the numbers," she said. "I'm very encouraged after the first day."
The Spartans open their season Sept. 5 at Archbishop Williams.
Menard works as an administrative assistant at her father's electrical engineering company, and is also a part-time security guard at Fenway Park. She and her husband, Joshua, live in Medford.