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Statesboro Blue Devils volleyball camp returns

    In just three years, Statesboro High has turned a fledgling volleyball program — with next to no previous experience in the sport — into a two-time state playoff qualifier.
    While the Lady Blue Devils will hit the court again this fall looking for a third consecutive trip to the postseason, next week will offer younger aspiring players a chance to get a head start on their volleyball skills.
    Statesboro’s volleyball camp, which began last summer, returns next week as sessions will run Monday-Thursday at the SHS gym. The cost is $50 per camper to cover the entire week’s worth of lessons and a camp T-shirt.
    Registration will begin on Monday prior to each session.
    “We started this last year not quite knowing what to expect,” SHS coach Bob Massee said. “We had about 20 to 25 kids show up last time and we’d like to continue to make this an event each summer.”
    This year’s camp is open to kids rising into grades 2-12. Participants will be split into three groups.
    ‘Mighty Mites’ includes players up to sixth grade and will begin each morning session from 8:30-10:30 a.m. From 11 to 1 p.m., older players looking to get into volleyball will practice in the beginners’ session. Each day will close with a session for experienced middle or high school players running from 1:30-4 p.m.
    No matter the group, the focus of the camp is to get more comfortable with the concepts o the game.
    “From the very basic fundamentals of the game to advanced strategy, we want to be able to help everyone who wants to play,” Massee said. “My motto is that if you can pass, you can play. We’re going to get that kind of instruction to the newcomers while giving the more experienced players more to build on.”
    Throughout the week, Massee will be assisted by members of Georgia Southern’s club team, as well as others Massee has worked with throughout his own impressive professional career.
    Many of next week’s campers will also comprise this season’s squad at Statesboro High. Along with the emergence of the school’s team, members of the Devils — as well as Southeast Bulloch’s squad, formed last season — have kept volleyball on the rise in the region. The Southern Slammers summer club program, spanning from Statesboro to Effingham County, has grown from just two teams to seven in the last three years.
    “We’re really excited with how things have grown so quickly,” Massee said. “I just hope that this camp can do its part to continue to introduce new people to volleyball and to help current players find ways to improve their game.”

    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.