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Lady Dawg Volleyball draw 100+ girls to second camp

Cove Leader-Press 

The Copperas Cove Lady Dawg Volleyball coaches held a summer camp for girls in grades 7 through 9 this week. 
Approximately 120 girls attended the camp, which was held Monday through Wednesday, from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day. 
The girls were split into three groups: incoming 7th graders, incoming 8th graders and incoming freshmen. 
The freshmen were under the guidance of new LDVB Head Coach Christy Thompson, along with Varsity Assistant Coach Melissa Penny, J.V. Coach Rio Orion and Freshman Coaches Alicia Crawford and Marie Samson, while the Junior High coaches Alex Alexander, Janelle Casson, Jeaniel Pati, McKenna Miller, Ana Zigler, Traonna Gamble, Carla Elliott and Bailey Perinon advised the 7th graders and 8th graders. 
Lady Dawg Volleyball held a camp for younger kids earlier this summer, offering an opportunity for the kids to meet the coaches and learn the basics of volleyball. This week’s camp for the older age group, served as a “pre-tryout,” according to Thompson. 
“Not only does this give them an opportunity to work on the skills and improve all of that, it helps them to not be nervous when the actual tryouts come because they’ve already been receiving coaching from their coaches,” Thompson said. 
Tryouts for the high school teams start August 1, with the first team selection occurring August 3, in order to have the first scrimmage on August 5 and August 6, with games starting the following week. 
We’ve got to be on it right now, so that’s why it’s so important for these freshmen to be getting the coaching and making the adjustments, so they’re not nervous and they can be the best that they can be,” Thompson said. 
Junior high players will start tryouts on the first day of school, August 16. 
At this week’s camp, the athletes started with learning or going over the fundamentals of passing, setting, hitting, serving, serve-receive and then built on those skills. From there, they focused on how to set up six players on the court, how to transition from their base position to their defense position, how to transition from serve-receive into defense and how to put it all together. They also learned about different hits, where to hit from, what the hits are called, where the open sports are on the court and more. 
Thompson was excited about the group that came to this camp, especially the freshmen. 
“It’s awesome because these kids have been coming to strength and conditioning in the morning also, so they are giving up their summers every morning,” she said. “They’re getting up. They’re coming, they’re doing weights, they’re doing agilities, they’re doing jump training. They get an hour of skills, and then this week, they’re able to get their camp skills. It’s awesome to have the number of kids that are showing up instead of going home because they’re tired. They want to be part of Lady Dawg Volleyball. They know that it’s hard work, and they’re here.”
Breanna Buckram, 14, and Taylor Wright, 14, both attended the camp this week. As incoming freshman, they were able to meet and interact with their new coaches and fellow players. 
“It’s fun,” Buckram said. “There’s a lot of experiences you can have, and it’s fun to learn more than what I’ve known in eighth grade and learn the more hitting positions that you can do and the different calls and [how to have] more control on passing.”
Wright agreed that she enjoyed learning more as well. 
Both girls said they were looking forward to becoming Lady Dawg Volleyball players and playing with more experienced players. Buckram said she really looked forward to the fast pace that the older players play at. 
Buckram and Wright were also invited to join the upperclassmen players in their strength and conditioning this week, according to Thompson. 
“This week, in our normal strengthen conditioning, only our upperclassmen are coming because I’m getting three hours with these freshmen [each day for three days],” Thompson said. “On day one, they along with about eight others did really well, so I invited them to come this week with my upperclassmen, so they are they are getting a little extra, so they have been experiencing that fast pace a little bit more than what they are doing in here [at the camps].”
Both Breanna and Taylor said they felt doing the strength and conditioning with the upperclassmen has helped how well they do at the camp. 
Just [from] watching the players and how fast they move and like their footwork and like, the way they just all communicate and talk to get the ball,” Buckram said. 
Thompson replaces former Head Coach Cari Lowery, who was hired as the Copperas Cove ISD Athletics Director earlier this year. Thompson had previously served as the Assistant Coach for Lady Dawg Volleyball, under Lowery’s tutelage. 
“I’m super excited about this upcoming year,” Thompson said. “It is my first year to be the head coach, but it’s not my first year in Lady Dawg Volleyball, so it’s kind of cool to see how the kids are reacting to me different from an assistant coach point of view to now being the one in charge. It’s just kind of cool to see that transformation. I’m super excited. Everybody’s working hard. Everybody’s enthusiastic, and so I can’t wait to see what we’re going to show [Copperas Cove].”

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