Youngsters learn basics at volleyball camp

LEROY – It was volleyball camp time for area youngsters at Pine River High School this week.

Pine River varsity volleyball coach Jana Dennis said she had between 25 and 30 players at the camp.

The Monday through Wednesday (June 20-22) camp was for incoming third graders to incoming freshmen. The camp was two hours each day inside the Pine River gymnasium.

“We just going over basic skills and working on setting, passing, fundamentals primarily and a little bit of game stuff with the older girls,” Dennis said. “We have quite a lot of returnees (to the camp). The third graders are new since it’s their first year of being able to come. I have a few new ones every year.”

Pine River has a junior high program. While the Bucks don’t have an elementary program other than the summer “that’s in the works,” Dennis said. “I’m planning on doing that this year but it’s not organized yet.”

It was a popular camp for 8-year-old Emma Whitney, who will be a Pine River third grader.

“I like setting and serving and I meet new friends,” she said. “I learned a lot.”

Meanwhile, the varsity players have been participating in a Monday night league that had the Bucks at Morley Stanwood earlier this week.

“We’ve been to Morley Stanwood a couple of weeks and we travel to White Cloud. We travel to area high schools including Big Rapids Crossroads. We play about an half an hour against each team that’s there,” Dennis said. “We don’t keep official scores. It’s basically to get them into the gym.”

Most of her varsity players have been participating in the league. “With it being summer, they’re kind of on standby, on call,” Dennis said. “We’ll be going to Saginaw Valley for team camp the end of July. There’s quite a few girls that go to the various camps. Some are going to the Cadillac camp next week.”

It’s an advantage, Dennis said, for volleyball players in the fall to get in as much work as possible during the summer

“There’s a lot of them that haven’t touched a volleyball,” Dennis said, noting that when practices officially start in August, “we have tryouts for three days an only a week of practice before our first tournament. This year, we will be doing a couple of preseason scrimmages.”