PHS adds two new volleyball coaches

PHS adds two new volleyball coaches

Pulaski High School has two new volleyball coaches. Kaitlin Skarban is the new head varsity coach. She replaces Bethani Thibodeau, who retired at the end of the recent season. Laura Lojpersberger is the new JV1 coach, replacing Danny Emmerich, who is stepping away from coaching.

“We are thankful to have had Coach Thibodeau and Coach Emmerich here at Pulaski the last few years and are grateful for her leadership within the volleyball program,” said PHS Athletic Director Janel Batten. “We are fortunate to have both Coach Skarban and Coach Lojpersberger take over as coaches as they are also both teachers at Pulaski High School. We are excited to have them and Coach (Brianna) Karcz to move the program ahead.”

Skarban’s journey in volleyball began at Denmark High School and playing club for Green Bay Power as a defensive specialist/libero and outside pin hitter. She further honed her skills while attending the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where she was recruited and played one year before switching her focus to academics. She stayed involved with the sport by participating in the college club team as well as playing intramurals.

Her coaching career began in the Madison area in 2017, where she coached and taught math at McFarland High School for three years. Here is where she discovered her love of coaching and the mentorship of young athletes. During her time in Madison, she also coached club volleyball for Capital Volleyball Academy. Skarban has also coached JV2 Volleyball at Pulaski the past two seasons. She joined the coaching staff at One Wisconsin Volleyball Club in 2021. At One Wisconsin, Kaitlin has coached at the Premier Level, leading both 13s and 16s teams, and 17s at the National Level.

Skarban believes in development of the whole athlete through fostering a positive and supportive environment where athletes can thrive both on and off the court.

“I am very excited to step into the role as varsity head coach; leading a volleyball program within the school district I teach has been a career goal of mine,” she said.

She added that coaching is not only a means to share a passion for the game and help players develop skills but also a meaningful mentorship extended beyond the classroom to help young athletes develop and embrace the intangible things that come with being part of a team to carry with them on and off of the court.

“Pulaski has some of the best student-athletes in the area — together we can establish a program that serves as a symbol of accomplishment, character and camaraderie. Volleyball is the fastest-growing sport in the country, and I look forward to supporting the growth of the Pulaski program across all levels for the years to come,” Skarban said.

Skarban has taught at PHS since 2020. She earned bachelor’s of science degrees in secondary math education and physics from UW-Whitewater. She lives in Sobieski with her husband, Mitch, and newborn daughter, Sadie.

Lojpersberger was a three-sport athlete in high school and played four years of volleyball at Green Bay East as a middle hitter. She played junior varsity as a freshman and three years of varsity. She played volleyball and basketball for four years at Northland College. In volleyball, she was a team captain, an all-tournament team player, an all-conference player, an academic all-conference player, and was in the 1,000-kill club at Northland.

Lojpersberger is a Green Bay East graduate. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Northland College and master’s degree from Grand Canyon University. She has taught for 12 years starting at Harvest Preparatory Academy in Yuma, Arizona. She spent six years with the Suring School District and one year with the Gillett district prior to coming to Pulaski, where she is currently in her third year.

She started her coaching career with middle school volleyball at Harvest Prep, where she also taught middle school basketball and soccer. At Suring, she coached the freshmen team for one year and then was the junior varsity coach/varsity assistant for four years. She also coached middle school basketball her first year and then junior varsity basketball after that. At Gillett, she coached middle school volleyball and helped out with the high school teams as a volunteer coach and practice player.

She is excited and grateful for the opportunity to coach at the JV1 level. “I am looking forward to getting back into coaching after having a few years off. I absolutely love being in the gym, being part of the team, sharing my knowledge of volleyball, and building relationships with the student-athletes. I am excited to see what Coach Skarban will do with the program, and I hope to support that vision as best I can.”

She is married to Joe Lojpersberger and the couple have four children: Maddux, 7; Cullen, 5; Attlee, 4, and Teegan, 9 months.