When Amy Woerth took over the Northwest volleyball team in 2012, it represented a homecoming of sorts.
Woerth, who earned her 100th career victory Sept. 8 over Newman University, served as a graduate assistant for the Bearcats during the 2003 and 2004 seasons. She also served as an assistant in 2011, before taking the interim title in 2013.
Since Woerth took over the program a little over six years ago, she has brought a winning tradition back to Bearcat Arena. She has racked up a total coaching record of 100-95 with the Bearcats and became the fourth winningest coach in Northwest volleyball history. She only trails former coaches Susie Homan (105), Pam Stanek (176) and the winningest coach in Bearcat volleyball history, Sarah Pelster (199).
Woerth has also etched her name inside the record books with third-best winning percentage (.512), as well as third-most games coached with 195 games.
“I just think it is fun to look back on this program and see what we have taken it from and how we have put our stamp on it,” coach Amy Woerth said. “I definitely couldn’t of gotten there by myself, and I find the joy in it by sharing the wins with the coaching staff.”
Woerth’s associate head coach, Alana Wittenburg, has been on the bench for every one of those victories.
“The loyalty that Alana has had to this program and to this process has been unbelievable,” Woerth said. “We have developed and continue to develop a professional coaching relationship to take this program to the next level and to get it to the place we know it can be.”
Wittenburg joined the Bearcat coaching staff in 2013 after completing a very successful career at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. She left Drake as its single-game (39), single-season (764) and career (2,423) digs record holder and in turn was chosen first team all-Missouri Valley Conference in 2010.
The 8-3 start that the Bearcats have put together heading into conference play has been a confidence boost for the team. Being able to close out games has been top priority for Woerth and the coaching staff.
“We are really excited to come into some home games and show fans the hard work we have been putting in,” senior Megan Stilmock said. “There are gonna be struggles and up and downs, but this team knows how to respond to them because we know what our end goals are and how to persevere through any obstacle that gets in our way.”
Northwest opens up its conference schedule with Lindenwood University on Friday. Lindenwood is 8-2 on the season and like the Bearcats, both teams have only dropped nine sets on the year. In the Woerth era of Bearcat volleyball, Northwest has only dropped two games to the Lions while beating them nine times.
With minimal rest, the Bearcats have to turn around and play another conference game against the University of Central Missouri. Central Missouri is 9-2 on the season with notable wins over No. 21 Missouri Western, No. 14 Arkansas Tech and No. 3 Lewis University.
“As long as we can put constant pressure on these teams, I think we will have a pretty good chance,” Woerth said. “We have to come back with our style of volleyball, and we know we have to get our players ready for a battle.”