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OHS picks new volleyball coach

Josh Halva, volleyball coach
Josh Halva
By
Roy Koenig, Sports Analyst

Owatonna girls volleyball fully intends to keep its half of the high school floor clean this fall as a new coach is set to take over.

Last week, OHS announced that Josh Halva has been named head volleyball coach. Pending approval from the school board, Halca succeeds Rachel Malo at the helm.

And he’s already looking forward to the upcoming season.

“Defensive tenacity. We are going to touch a ton of shots. Passing and defense is where I made my money growing up,” the new coach said. “We’re going to be flying around, not letting any ball hit the floor without somebody going after it. It makes for an exciting brand of volleyball. We won’t stop chasing the ball until it hits the floor. And those plays always seem to get people pretty excited.”

Halva added, “Absolutely excited. It’s been something I’ve been working toward for three, four, five years. The girls are fantastic. [Activities Director] Marc’s [Achterkrich] wonderful to work with. I can’t wait to build Owatonna’s program back up.”

In a news release, Achterkirch said, “Josh brings a wealth of volleyball knowledge and experience, as well as an incredible passion for the game.”

Halva said, “I love the teaching aspect. To me there’s not a more rewarding feeling than teaching somebody something they’ve never done, watching them struggle, get better at it, and then do it in a game and be successful. The pure joy that you see on their face is second to none.”

He played Junior Olympic volleyball during high school and was on the club team at Minnesota State-Mankato. He has an accounting degree from Concordia-St. Paul and works at Federated Insurance.

Halva coached the Owatonna ninth grade the last two seasons and works with the 14 and 17-year-olds over the winter. He started a summer camp this year, “I’ve coached everyone from fifth grade on up. I’ve gotten to know quite a few players in the whole program which will help me to build the program and get going from the bottom up.” He spent three seasons as the JV head coach at Mankato West.

The Huskies open the season at the Scarlets on Sept. 3 followed by a tournament at Marshall that weekend. Owatonna’s home opener on Federated Court is Sept. 10 with Farmington. Owatonna went 11-17 last fall, 5-6 in the Big Nine. The Huskies lose All-Conference outside hitter Mehsa Krause but return Big Nine honorable mention libero Halle Theis. Northfield won the conference in 2023. New Prague represented Section 1AAAA at state.

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