WILLMAR – Erica Smith has been named the new head volleyball coach at Ridgewater College.

Smith and the Warriors opened practice for the 2019 season on Aug. 12.

“As the new head coach,” Smith said. “I hope to continue and grow the success Ridgewater volleyball has earned on and off the court. We are looking forward to showing our supporters and our competition that our goals are set high and our passion for the game runs deep.”

Smith, then Erica Feldewerd, began her volleyball career at Melrose High School where she played middle blocker for three years, earning all-Conference and all-area honors. After graduating in 2008, she went on to Central Lakes College to earn an Associate of Arts degree and compete on the volleyball team as an outside hitter. She also began coaching Junior Olympic volleyball in Brainerd.

During her freshman season at CLC, her team competed at the NJCAA National Tournament with the Raiders placing fourth in the nation. Smith earned All-State, All-Region, and All-American honors during her time at CLC. She then moved on to finish her Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science at Minnesota State University-Moorhead and coached JO volleyball for the Moorhead Juniors.

Smith and her family then moved back to the St. Cloud area where she continued to coach JO volleyball for other programs before deciding to start up her own program. Erica and her husband, Jason, have directed and coached at OMG Athlete Volleyball Club for four years in St. Cloud.

“We are very excited to have such a qualified individual interested in leading our program,” said Heidi Olson, Ridgewater dean of students.

Smith said coaching in college has been a dream of hers.

“As a former college athlete, the experience I gained was different, exciting, and life changing, and for these Warrior ladies, this opportunity is truly something special,” Smith said.