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Volleyball campers hit the court at SHS
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Director and coach Bob Massee, left, gives some pointers about serving to Bekah Welch, 17, during Statesboro High School volleyball camp Monday. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff


       
    Statesboro High School volleyball coach Bob Massee stresses fun, effort and passing for all of his volleyball players—and that was certainly the case in the fourth annual SHS Volleyball Camp, which began Monday.
    The sport of volleyball continues to grow in Bulloch County and the Blue Devils have been right at the forefront of the movement.
    Statesboro High School’s volleyball program started just five years ago—one of the first in the area— and since the program’s inaugural year, the school’s annual camp has grown as well.
    “It’s amazing to see how much volleyball has grown over the years. When we first started Statesboro High was the only school that had volleyball. We tried to introduce (volleyball) to every school in the county and that’s our goal here at Statesboro,” Massee said. “We want to get every kid everywhere to fall in love with the sport. We think it’s great for the kids and great for our community.”
    The camp will last till Thursday and is open from grades 2 through 12. In its first year, Massee said the camp had around 20 girls participate. Last year, the numbers doubled.
    The camp is broken down into three separate sessions according to experience and age. Girls in grades 2-6 participate in the Mighty Mights session from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. From 11 a.m to 1 p.m., girls in grades 7-12 who have never played in the sport of volleyball participate in the beginner's session. The third session of each day is for experienced middle school and high school players from 1:30 to 4 p.m.
    “We want our guys to have high energy. That’s what we coach is high energy. We have a coach that’s so much fun. She’s just one of the coaches that brings so much energy,” Massee said.
    Massee, who is going into his fifth season as head coach of the Lady Blue Devils, was referring to coach Tracy Hartwell—head coach of the volleyball team at Langston Chapel Middle School.
    Hartwell was full of energy for the camp’s third session of the day. She even joined the group of young girls during drills and games.
    “Of course it’s great for exercise, but one of the reasons I do this is for our girls that are going to play for me,” Hartwell said. “I encourage girls that are new or just want to come out to go to this camp and learn a few things, that way when they come to school they already have a little background of the game.”
    Hartwell, who played volleyball at Georgia Southern University, said the camp serves as an excellent “feeder program” for her team. She also noted she gains experience from watching coach Massee.
    “Just learning some coaching techniques from (Massee) is really what I enjoy. I try to implement what he does at my school,” Hartwell said. “Volleyball is just starting to get noticed in Bulloch County and it’s such an awesome sport. I hope it continues to grow and grow.”
    Tess Newton, 17, participated in the SHS Volleyball Camp since she was in eighth grade. Newton is now a senior on the Lady Blue Devils volleyball team and coach Massee expects her to be a team captain.
    Newton said the camp has changed over the years for the better.
    “It has been really fun to watch this camp grow over the years. When we first started we had like three or four kids and now it has grown to over 20,” Newton said. “I remember who the seniors were when I first started and now I’m up at the top so it’s kind of cool to see everyone look up to you.
“I teach having fun. When we first started we focused on having fun and that’s what we want to continue to do.”
    The camp will be open to anyone wanting to join and will accept walk-ins. For more information about SHS Volleyball Camp, contact bmassee@bulloch.k12.ga.us.